Avelox Peripheral Neuropathy Lawsuit Filed Against Bayer, Merck

A Nebraska woman is one of the latest to file a product liability lawsuit against Bayer and Merck, alleging that side effects of Avelox caused her to develop peripheral neuropathy following use of the popular antibiotic. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Geraldine Blackmon in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on February 26, indicating that she developed the irreversible nerve damage after she was prescribed a 15-day course of Avelox.

As a result of the peripheral neuropathy from Avelox, Blackmon indicates that she suffers significant pain and suffering, which has diminished her overall quality of life.

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The case joins a growing number of Avelox peripheral neuropathy lawsuits filed by individuals throughout the U.S., which all raise similar allegations that the drug makers failed to warn consumers and the medical community about the risk of permanent nerve problems that may result from use of a class of drugs known as fluoroquinolones, which also includes Levaquin, Cipro and others.

Peripheral neuropathy is a medical condition that involves damage to the nerves, which may impair sensation, movement and other aspects of health. Symptoms may include pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness and sensitivity to light touches, temperature and motion in the arms and legs.

While warnings provided with Avelox, Levaquin, Cipro and other fluoroquinolones have indicated that users may face a risk of peripheral neuropathy, for years the drug makers indicated that the antibiotic nerve problems were rare, and plaintiffs allege that they failed to adequately disclose that many users have been left with irreversible pain and disability, according to Blackmon’s¬†complaint.

“In 2002 and 2003 Defendants were put on notice that numerous reports had been submitted to the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System that identified fluorquinolone users who had developed disabling peripheral neuropathy that persisted long after the drug had been discontinued,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ failure to adequately warn physicians resulted in (1) patients receiving Avelox instead of another acceptable and adequate non-fluoroquinolone antibiotic, sufficient to treat the illness for which Plaintiff presented to the provider; (2) and physicians failing to warn and instruct consumers about the risk of long-term peripheral nervous system injuries associated with Avelox.”

In August 2013, the FDA required drug makers to provide stronger warnings about the peripheral neuropathy risk from Avelox, Levaquin, Cipro and other fluoroquinolones, indicating problems may last for months or years after an individual stops taking the drug. The new label now warns patients to contact their doctors and consider switching to a different class of antibiotics if they experience symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Similar Levaquin lawsuits and Cipro lawsuits are also being pursued throughout the U.S. by users of those other popular fluoroquinolones, raising nearly identical allegations that indicate the drug makers placed their desire for profits before consumer safety by withholding adequate warnings about the risk of peripheral neuropathy for years.

Blackmon’s lawsuit pursues claims against Bayer and Merck for strict liability, failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

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