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Users of the popular class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones may face an increased risk of aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection, which could cause a rupture and life-threatening internal bleeding. They also face permanent and irreversible nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy. Lawsuits for users of Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox and other similar antibiotics are being reviewed by lawyers nationwide.
ANTIBIOTIC LAWSUIT STATUS: A growing number of Levaquin lawsuits, Cipro lawsuits, Avelox lawsuits and other claims involving other fluoroquinolone antibiotics are being filed nationwide on behalf former users diagnosed with aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, and peripheral neuropathy.
OVERVIEW: Fluorquinolones are the most widely used class of antibiotics in the United States, with more than 23 million patients per year receiving prescriptions for the medications in pill form and another three million receiving injections.
Although the antibiotics are promoted as safe and effective, a number side effects have been linked to these drugs, which has led the FDA to recommend they not be used for uncomplicated infections.
In May 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication saying that these antibiotics’ risks outweigh their benefits in many cases.
The agency indicated that Levaquin, Avelox, Cipro and similar drugs will now carry warnings on the label and Medication guides indicating that they should not be prescribed to treat sinusitis, bronchitis or uncomplicated urinary tract infections, unless there are no alternative treatments available.
Antibiotic Aortic Aneurysms and Aortic Dissections: A recent scientific study found that users of antibiotics like Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro face double the risk of conditions known as aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection. In both cases, the tissues inside the aorta, a major artery, is weakened and could result in a potentially deadly rupture.
An aortic aneurysm occurs when the outer wall of the aorta bulges due to weakness and the pressure inside. In many cases they are small and do not require treatment. However, in some cases the bulge becomes large enough to rupture, resulting in massive internal bleeding.
Aortic dissections are similar, but occur within the layers of tissue inside the aorta. These have a much higher risk of rupturing, and can also become aortic aneurysms.
Symptoms of aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection include:
- Severe chest pain
- Severe upper back pain
- Coughing and trouble talking
- Loss of consciousness
- Irregular pulse in one arm
Emergency medical treatment is required immediately if an aortic rupture occurs, and those who undergo treatment for these problems must often take medications and live on a restrictive diet for the rest of their lives.
ANTIBIOTIC NERVE DAMAGE SIDE EFFECTS: Scientific evidence has established a link between fluoroquinolone antibiotics and peripheral neuropathy for decades, with the first published case reports coming as early as 1992.
Although peripheral neuropathy warnings were added to many of the medications in September 2004, it appears that this information was false and misleading. The warnings suggested that the peripheral neuropathy problems were “rare” and failed to disclose that users may be left with permanent nerve damage.
These problems may have been avoided if stronger warnings were provided, informing consumers to seek medical attention and switch to a different antibiotic upon the onset of symptoms.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy from antibiotics like Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox and others may include:
- Pain or Weakness
- Burning, Tingling or Numbness
- Sensitivity to Light Touches, Temperature or Motion in the Arms and Legs
In August 2013, the FDA announced that new and stronger warnings would be added to Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics.