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Levaquin Suits Filed in Illinois Over Tendon Rupture Risk

  • Written by: Austin Kirk
  • 2 Comments

Four new Levaquin suits, representing twenty plaintiffs, have been filed in Illinois state court against the makers of the popular antibiotic, alleging that the risk of tendon ruptures was downplayed and inadequate warnings were provided.

Three of the cases were filed on September 2 in the Third Judicial Circuit Court in Madison County, Ill., and the fourth case was filed the same day in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court in St. Clair County, Ill. The complaints have been filed against Johnson & Johnson, and their subsidiary, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., which manufactured Levaquin, as well as Walgreen Co., which sold the drug.

The complaints contain allegations that are similar to hundreds of other suits over Levaquin filed in state and federal courts throughout the country by individuals who claim to have suffered severe tendonitis or tendon ruptures from Levaquin. The drug makers have been accused of negligence and failure to warn, with plaintiffs claiming that the defendants knew for years that Levaquin side effects cause tendon problems, but attempted to manipulate data and hide the risk.

Levaquin (levofloxacin), which is part of a class of medications known as fluoroquinolones, was approved by the FDA in December 1996. It is prescribed to prevent infection by stopping the reproduction of bacteria, but has also been found to be toxic to the tendons, leading to a number of reports of tendon damage, including debilitating ruptures of the Achilles tendon.

In July 2008, the FDA required that a “black box” warning be added about the side effects of Levaquin and other similar antibiotics, which is the strongest warning that can be placed on a prescription medication. However, consumer advocates called for Levaquin tendon rupture warnings to be added at least two years earlier, with Public Citizen filing a petition with the FDA in 2006 insisting that consumers and the medical community be provided with clearer warnings about the risk of tendon damage.

All federal Levaquin lawsuits have been consolidated into an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which is centralized for pretrial litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The first trial for a Levaquin lawsuit in the MDL is scheduled to begin in August 2010.

A number of Levaquin cases have also been filed in New Jersey state court, where the lawsuits were afforded mass tort treatment under Judge Carol Higbee in Atlantic County Superior Court because of the large number of complaints filed involving nearly identical allegations.

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2 comments

  1. Aldo Reply

    Back in September 2007, I was prescribed and taking Zithromax 500mg to treat sinusitis. After the treatment ended and I still had the same symptoms, I remembered that in late 2006 I was prescribed Levaquin 500mg for the same illness and it worked much better; however, I had terrible side effects with nausea and servere diareha which I found that only live cultures in yogurt helped. In any event, I took the Levaquin and the symptoms of the illness went away in about one week. However, I soon afterward experienced a bicep tendon tear in my right arm. It was extremely painful and I had limited use of the arm for about one month, but a surgeon recommended against surgery to re attach the tendon, for fear I would develop shoulder problems or have possible complications. Today i have use of my right arm but there is a noticeable loss of mass in the bicep muscle. I vowed NEVER again to accept any prescription of either Zithromax or Levaquin.

  2. penelope Reply

    i have been on all these drugs for years because i m allerigic to pencillin .i have been having trouble with my feet nueorpathy? on pain pills to walk and feet hurt all the time

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