Risk of Acute Aortic Disease Linked to Levaquin, Avelox, Other Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Confirmed in New Study

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

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As a growing number of lawsuits over aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm injuries continue to be filed against the makers of Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro, new research appears to confirm the link between use of the controversial fluoroquinolone antibiotics and acute aortic disease.

In a study published last week in the medical journal The BMJ, researchers found a small but significant increase in the risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection among those who take a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones.

According to the findings, most of that risk is associated with aortic aneurysms, which is a painful and potentially serious condition involving a bulge in the aorta, where the walls of the artery have weakened. This can cause severe chest pain, as well as carry the risk of rupturing.

Aortic dissections involve a similar, but potentially more serious and life-threatening condition, involving degradation within the layers of the aorta. Both pose a serious health risk and usually require invasive surgery to treat.

In this study, researchers conducted a nationwide historical cohort study in Sweden looking at data on patient characteristics, drug prescriptions, and cases of aortic aneurysm or dissection in Sweden from July 2006 to December 2013. The findings compared more than 360,000 cases of fluoroquinolone use, 78% of which was Cipro, with an equal number of cases of amoxicillin use.

According to the findings, there were 1.2 cases of aortic aneurysm or dissection for every 1,000 person years among those taking Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox. That compares to only 0.7 cases among those taking amoxicillin; an increased risk of 66%. When the researchers looked at the risk of aortic aneurysm alone, the risk was nearly double.

“Our study supports the notion that fluoroquinolone use could be associated with an increased risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection,” the researchers concluded. “Before these results are used to guide clinical decision making, the collective body of data on this safety issue should be scrutinised by drug regulatory authorities and weighed, together with other safety issues with this drug class, against the benefits of treatment; this will support appropriate clinical treatment recommendations.”

This is the third recent study to link the side effects of Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro to aortic aneurysms and dissections.

The most recent was a study by researchers from Baylor College, who conducted tests on mice using fluoroquinolone antibiotics and indicated they found that the drug appeared to increase the risk of aortic aneurysms or aortic dissections in mice with already stressed aortas. Healthy aortas appeared to be unaffected.

In October 2015, a report published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that current use of Levaquin, Avelox or other similar fluoroquinolone antibiotics was associated with a two-fold increased risk of suffering an aortic aneurysm or dissection injury. The research was conducted to examine whether the known risk of collagen degredation from fluoroquinolones, which causes the risk of tendon ruptures, may also cause problems with the aorta.

The FDA issued a major fluoroquinolone antibiotics warning in May 2016, indicating that a variety of “disabling and potentially serious side effects” led the agency to conclude that the risks may outweigh the benefits associated with using the medications to treat uncomplicated infections. However, that warning focused on reports of permanent nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy, as well as tendon ruptures and other health risks, and the statement did not address concerns about the risk of aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection from the antibiotics, which emerged with the publication of an independent study months earlier.

In May 2017, the FDA issued another drug safety communication indicating that it found no link between Cipro and similar antibiotics and an increased risk of aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection. However, independent studies since then seem to contradict those findings..

There are currently hundreds of Levaquin lawsuitsAvelox lawsuits and Cipro lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, alleging that the drug makers failed to warn about potential side effects allegedly caused by the antibiotics.

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  1. Mark Reply

    Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, or FQs, cause HORRIFIC devastation of every sort imaginable from head to toe, body and mind. The thing is, that with this class of drugs, the adverse reaction doesn’t stop when the patient discontinues the drugs. Sadly, the victims tend to suffer a syndrome with a whole bunch of HORRIBLE “symptoms” that set in either all at once or in rapid succession. We end up have problems set in for years and years. I am pretty sure that these studies are measuring the increased likelihood of ruptures during the time that the person is taking the drugs, not a tracking of everyone who took them across time to see if they had one or a review of everyone who had one to see if FQs were in their medical histories. “The researchers were then able to compare the risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection among more than 360,000 treatment episodes of fluoroquinolones with the risk among the same number of treatment episodes of amoxicillin, another type of antibiotic.” Again, I believe that by treatment episodes they are referring just to the time they are taking an FQ or perhaps also a short period afterward. The real number could be more like 20 times as likely, or 50 times as likely. All we know is it’s much much higher than this. Also, it’s not like most drugs that have one or two quirky ways they mess with people. FQs kill us in dozens of ways from plummeting blood pressure to soaring blood sugar, from collapsed lung to intracranial pressure, from muscle wasting to suicide, we are dropping like flies. Of course, in 99% or more of the cases, the cause of death listed is the diseases or condition the doctors suspected and not the combination of toxic chemicals the doctors prescribed. Dr. Charles Bennett of the University of South Carolina has estimated that FQs have killed roughly 300,000 Americans and millions globally. The number of Americans who have been sickened and maimed is in the tens of millions, the vast majority of whom are misdiagnosed, meaning not only that we do without treatment we need and suffer through additional toxic reactions as we take more drugs we don’t need, but that we are padding the numbers of all sorts of different conditions such as lupus, fibro, ALS, Parkinsn’s and so on. Not only are we boosting their numbers, but we are skewing their research and messing up their hopes for establishing efficacious best practices. This is a serious crisis of almost unimaginable scope and scale, the thalidomide story of our generation. You will be hearing a lot more about this soon…

  2. Kelly Reply

    This is not surprising. Fluoroquinolones cause a VAST array of devastating side effects including nerve damage, tendon damage, Mitochondrial damage, tinnitus, hearing loss, vision loss, etc…. just to name a few. Unfortunately at the young age of 29, I took Levofloxacin for a simple sinus infection and woke up 2 days later with immediate permanent nerve damage and pain all over my entire body. These drugs should not be prescribed lightly and for non-life threatening conditions!! Fluoroquinolone Toxicity has become an epidemic across the country and in all areas of the world. Some people don’t even know the reason why they’re in so much pain. It’s really sad.

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