Fluroquinolone antibiotics are regularly prescribed to Americans each year to assist in the treatment of everything from urinary tract infections to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. These drugs were generally considered safe and effective forms of treatment by doctors, but this opinion is beginning to change.
Studies now suggest that these drugs, including the drugs Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox can cause dangerous and permanent side effects that can negatively impact the lives of patients and their families. As a result, injured patients who took these drugs and later suffered serious side effects are now bringing claims against the manufacturers of these drugs and seeking compensation for their injuries.
Side Effects Associated with These Antibiotics
Some injured patients showed no signs of side effects for years despite taking one of these antibiotic medications.
Common side effects that did appear included:
- Aortic dissection: In this condition, the aorta’s walls break down and blood enters the surrounding tissue. This condition can lead to a stroke, heart attack, and/or paralysis.
- Aortic aneurysm: In this condition, the aorta becomes enlarged or bulging. There may be no signs or symptoms that the patient’s aorta is enlarging until the aorta bursts. When the aorta does burst, the patient may suffer terrible pain and lose consciousness. Even with medical intervention, patients whose aortas burst may only have a 50/50 chance of survival.
- Peripheral neuropathy: These antibiotic medications are also associated with the development of peripheral neuropathy. This condition damages the nerves that travel to the hands and feet and can last for a person’s lifetime. A patient with peripheral neuropathy may lose sensation in the affected areas over time.
These conditions have caused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings about the use of these drugs. In 2013, for example the FDA issued a directive to the manufacturers of these antibiotic medications that required them to add warnings about the risk of peripheral neuropathy. In particular, these warnings advised patients that peripheral neuropathy could begin immediately after starting to take the drug and may be lifelong. Earlier than that – in 2008 – the FDA issued a warning advising patients that taking these drugs increased the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. A further warning was added in 2011 regarding myasthenia gravis, which is an autoimmune disorder which impacts skeletal muscles.
Lawsuits Filed Against Drug Manufacturers
In light of medical studies which suggest a link between these drugs and aortic dissection or aortic aneurysm, a lawsuit was filed in early 2016 by five individuals who used to take Levaquin and who suffered injuries from the drug’s side effect. The case was filed against the drug’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, and sought nearly $800 million in damages. The injured patients in the case believe that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers about the dangers of Levaquin despite knowing about the drug’s more dangerous side effects for years. Additional lawsuits are likely to be filed as more and more individuals become aware of these drugs’ dangerous side effects.
Drug manufacturers are legally responsible for producing a drug that is reasonably safe for its intended use. Doing this usually requires years of studies and obtaining approval from the FDA. While a drug manufacturer is not required to eliminate all potential side effects, the manufacturer is required to disclose any side effects of which it knows or which it would know if the manufacturer had performed the appropriate tests and trials. Drug manufacturers should not release drugs with extremely dangerous side effects unless the benefits of the drug greatly outweigh the risk of harm to patients who take the drug.
If you were prescribed one of these antibiotic drugs for a medical condition, you should be alert for signs of disorders of the aorta and/or peripheral neuropathy. Talk to your prescribing doctor about switching to a different medication that has fewer serious side effects. If you believe you are experiencing an aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm, or believe you are developing peripheral neuropathy, seek medical attention right away. Recall that aortic aneurysms can be deadly and may produce few, if any, warning signs prior to the aneurysm bursting.
Stern Law, PLLC Provides Experienced Representation to Injured Patients
Lawsuits against drug manufacturers that distributed Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox, and other fluroquinolone antibiotics are complicated matters and require experienced legal assistance to property investigate and present. Stern Law, PLLC has been representing individuals harmed by dangerous drugs for years and is well-equipped to efficiently investigate your case and (if appropriate) pursue compensation on your behalf. Now that the dangers of these drugs is more widely known, you only have a limited time in which to file a claim for compensation. Call (844) 808-7529 to speak with us about your dangerous side effect injury case and learn how Stern Law, PLLC can assist you.