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Published: June 1st, 2012
The antibiotic Levaquin has been associated with side effects that could increase the risk of tendon ruptures and permanent damage to the tendon, resulting in hundreds of failure to warn lawsuits filed throughout the United States. The manufacturers now face questions about whether adequate warnings have been provided about the risk of retina detachment with Levaquin.
STATUS OF LEVAQUIN LITIGATION: All federal Levaquin tendon rupture lawsuits have been consolidated in an MDL before Judge John R. Tunheim in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, and a large number of cases are also centralized in New Jersey state court. As of mid-2012, reports suggest that Levaquin settlement agreements have been reached in some cases.
Although most lawyers are no longer reviewing new claims for individuals diagnosed with tendon damage, lawsuits for retina detachment injuries on Levaquin are being evaluated, as a result of the drug maker’s failure to adequately research the medication or warn about the risk of the eye problems.
MANUFACTURER: Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
OVERVIEW: Levaquin (levofloxacin) is an antibiotic that is part of a group of drugs known as fluoroquinolones. It is prescribed to prevent infection by stopping the reproduction of bacteria.
Approved by the FDA in December 1996, Levaquin has become one of the more commonly prescribed antibiotics. In 2005, annual sales exceeded $2.3 billion.
LEVAQUIN TENDON RUPTURE SIDE EFFECTS: The use of Levaquin has been associated with an increased risk of tendon ruptures, tendon damage and tendonitis, which has left many users permanently disabled after taking the drug.
The risk of tendon ruptures has been associated with all fluroquinolone antibiotics, but the risk appears to be greater with Levaquin. According to reports received by the FDA, Levaquin tendon ruptures accounted for 61% of all fluoroquinolone-associated ruptures between November 1997 and December 2005. However, the drug only accounted for about 45% of all prescriptions written for fluoroquinolones during that time.
A tendon rupture is a very painful injury that often requires surgery to repair the tendon damage. Symptoms associated with a Levaquin induced tendon rupture could include swelling, inflammation or pain.
The most frequently ruptured tendon with Levaquin is the Achilles tendon, in the heel. However, reports have also indicate Levaquin side effects could cause tendon ruptures of the shoulder, biceps, hand and thumb.
The risk of Levaquin tendon rupture side effects is said to be higher among those who are 60 years of age or older
LEVAQUIN BLACK BOX WARNING: In July 2008, the FDA announced that the makers of all fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including Levaquin, will add more prominent language about he risk of tendon damage to a “black box” on the label. In addition, the manufacturers will provide a medication guide which better informs users about the potential side effects of the drugs, and that they should consult with a doctor at the first sign of tendon pain.
In August 2006, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen filed a petition with the FDA requesting that these stronger warnings be provided, but the drug makers and FDA failed to take steps at that time to warn users. In January 2008, a Levaquin lawsuit was filed against the FDA alleging that their petition had been ignored.
LEVAQUIN RETINA DETACHMENT SIDE EFFECTS: Although doctors have long-suspected that Levaquin and other antibiotics in the same class of medications have a detrimental effect on connective tissues throughout the body, the manufacturers may have failed to adequately research or warn about the risk of eye problems and vision loss.
In April 2012, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that users of Levaquin may be five times more likely to suffer a retinal detachment, which is a medical emergency where the retina peels away from its underlying layer of support.
Some lawyers are now considering whether individuals may be entitled to financial compensation through a Levaquin retina detachment lawsuit if they suffered an injury, as proper warnings may have allowed individuals to avoid the eye problems, since prompt treatment may the retina from detaching completely.
Symptoms of a developing detached retina from Levaquin may include:
- Flashes of Light
- Floaters or “Hairs” Visible to the Temporal Side of the Central Vision
- Dramatic Increases in the NUmber of Floaters
- Feeling of Heaviness in the Eye
- Dense Shadow Progressing from Peripheral to Central Vision
- Impression that a Veil or Curtain Was Drawn Over Field of Vision
- Central Vision Loss