Fluoroquinolones are a very strong form of antibiotics commonly used to stop the growth of bacterial infections. Fluoroquinolones are the most commonly used form of antibiotics, taken by nearly 33 million consumers in the U.S. annually. The product contains fluoride, a neurotoxin, which can enter the brain and central nervous system through sensitive tissues.
Fluoroquinolones were first approved to treat a small number of bacterial infections, primarily urinary tract infections. The antibiotics are now used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections.
Fluoroquinolones are often used when a patient has built up an immunity to other antibiotics, prompting the use of this very strong class of drugs. Most often, fluoroquinolone antibiotics are used to treat the most severe bacterial infections.
Fluoroquinolones have been linked to serious adverse health effects, including tendon problems and permanent nerve damage. As a result, the FDA has mandated that all fluoroquinolone drugs carry a black-box label warning consumers of the risks associated with the antibiotics.
Common fluoroquinolones include:
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Avelox (moxifloxacin)
- Levaquin (levofloxacin)
Levaquin was first approved for marketing in 1996. It accounts for around 28% of all fluoroquinolone prescriptions in the U.S., making it the second most popular fluoroquinolone antibiotic. It was previously the most prescribed antibiotic in 2010, used to treat a range of bacterial infections including urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and even plague.
According to the FDA, a new warning is needed for Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox and other fluoroquinolones (FQs) as they may trigger a serious, persistent, multi-symptom disability referred to as fluoroquinolones-associated disability (FQAD). FQAD refers to a “constellation of symptoms” leading to disability that has been observed during FDA monitoring of FQ safety reports.
Although most of the individual symptoms observed are documented in the literature and reflected in the FQ drug medication guides, there have been no warnings in the past about a link to a constellation of symptoms across organ systems.
Case Studies seem to indicate that individuals experience FQAD symptoms differently. However, a diagnosis of this disability requires the following:
- A previously healthy patient who has been prescribed a course of FQs for the treatment of one of the following:
- Uncomplicated sinusitis
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), or
- Another illness that would likely resolve itself without antibiotics
- Symptoms relating to at least two different body systems, including:
- the peripheral nervous system,
- musculoskeletal (including tendon rupture and tendonitis),
- cardiovascular, and/or
- Symptoms need to have been reported to the last 30 days or longer after stopping the FQ treatment.
Symptoms May be Progressive and Delayed
Case studies note that while some symptoms may appear during the FQ course of treatment, it is not unusual for some individuals to present symptoms linked to FQAD appearing months after treatment has stopped. In addition, some symptoms progressively worsen over time.
Failure to Warn of the Risk of FQAD
The FDA has received more than 50,000 reports of adverse events and 2,600 reports of deaths associated with Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox, and Factive, through June 30, 2015. According to FDA estimates only about ten percent of all adverse events are actually reported to the FDA, as these are voluntary reports. Furthermore, in the case of FQAD, most consumers and many doctors were not aware that there could be a link between a delayed symptom and an FQAD course of treatment. Therefore, it is possible that the number of adverse events that were actually related to FQ treatments is more than ten times as large as currently reported.
For years, activists and researchers have been trying to get the word out to the public about the risks that these popular billion-dollar drugs carry with them. Many critics have been public about their belief that FQs, including Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox and Factive (as well as the six other FQs that were removed from the market) are over-prescribed and they should be reserved for conditions in which other effective antibiotics are not available.
Fluoroquinolones Linked to Adverse Side Effects
The FDA has discovered links between fluoroquinolone antibiotics and a number of adverse, disabling and potentially irreversible health risks, including:
- Tendon injuries
- Muscle injuries
- Joint injuries
- Injuries to the nerves and the central nervous system.
The side effects can include tendon damage or rupture, permanent nerve damage in the extremities, liver toxicity, kidney failure, hearing or vision problems, or psychiatric side effects. Many of these symptoms can be irreversible.
Because of the dangerous health risks involved with fluoroquinolones, the FDA recommends that for some more common bacterial infections fluoroquinolones only be used if no other options are viable.
Fluoroquinolone Lawsuit Injuries
TorHoerman Law is no longer accepting clients for fluoroquinolone lawsuits, including Levaquin products.
Previously filed lawsuits were filed on behalf of patients who are/were prescribed Levaquin products and suffered the following injuries:
- Aortic aneurysm
- Aortic dissection
The fluoroquinolone lawsuits against the manufacturer of Levaquin claimed that patients suffered aortic dissection / aortic aneurysm that resulted in hospitalization, surgery, or death within one year after taking the antibiotics. The fluoroquinolone lawsuit further claims that the manufacturer failed to warn patients of the potential for these injuries.
Studies suggest that individuals who are prescribed fluoroquinolone are two times as likely to develop these dangerous aortic conditions.
The fluoroquinolone lawsuit claims that manufacturer of Levaquin:
- Knew / should have known that fluoroquinolones increase the risk of aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections;
- Failed to adequately inform and warn patients and health care providers of these increased risks;
- Misled the public / concealed information regarding the drug’s defects; and
- Continually marketed their product as the best and safest first-line response for bacterial infections.
TorHoerman Law is no longer accepting new clients for the Fluoroquinolone Lawsuit.