Levaquin Lawsuit Alleges Antibiotic Caused Peripheral Neuropathy

According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed earlier this month against Johnson & Johnson, side effects of Levaquin caused a Tennessee woman to suffer a severe and permanent form of nerve damage from the antibiotic, known as peripheral neuropathy.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Wendy Garland in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on December 12, naming Johnson & Johnson and its Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Phareuticals subsidiary as defendants, as well as the distributor of the popular antibiotic, McKesson Corp.

Garland indicates that she developed peripheral neuropathy from Levaquin after she began using the antibiotic as directed by her physician in December 2013.

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The painful and potentially debilitating disease affects the peripheral nervous system, resulting in burning, numbness and tingling in the extremities, impaired sensitivity to light touches, temperature or motion, coordination problems, muscle weakness, lightheadedness and other complications.

“As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ willful, wanton, careless, reckless, conscious, and deliberate disregard for the rights and safety of their consumers, Plaintiff suffered severe and permanent physical and emotional injuries, including, but not limited to, irreversible peripheral neuropathy,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff have endured pain and suffering, has suffered economic loss, including incurring significant expenses for medical care and treatment, and will continue to incur such expenses in the future.”

Garland joins a growing number of individuals throughout the U.S. who are now pursuing a Levaquin lawsuit after being diagnosed with permanent peripheral neuropathy or other nerve damage.

All of the complaints raise similar allegations, claiming that Johnson & Johnson has known about the risk of Levaquin neuropathy problems for years, yet failed to provide adequate warnings for consumers and the medical community until the FDA forced the drug maker to update the label in August 2013.

Peripheral Neuropathy from Levaquin, Other Antibiotics

Levaquin is part of a popular class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, which also include Cipro, Avelox and other medications. However, Levaquin has been the best-selling member of this class in recent years, generating over $1.3 billion in annual sales before generic versions became available in 2011.

Last year, the FDA issued a drug safety communication to announce that it is requiring the manufacturers of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones to change their warning labels about the risk of peripheral neuropathy problems, providing warnings for the first time that symptoms may continue for months or even years after an individual stops taking the drug.

While prior warnings suggested that it was rare of users to suffer a Levaquin neuropathy injury and that the problems often resolve once the medication is no longer used, fluoroquinolone antibioitics have actually been linked to a large number of reports involving permanent and disabling nerve damage that may last the rest of a user’s life.

Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal Neurology added further support for these warnings, indicating that side effects of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones may double the risk of peripheral neuropathy.

Researchers recommendeded that doctors more carefully weigh the risks and benefits of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones when prescribing them to patients for less severe infections or conditions, suggesting that many former users may have been able to avoid Levaquin neuropathy if stronger warnings had been provided in the past.

Given the widespread use of the medication, many peripheral neuropathy lawsuits are being reviewed by lawyers, with many expecting that several thousand cases will be filed over the coming months and years.

Garland is pursuing claims against Johnson & Johnson for strict liability, failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, negligent representation and fraudulent concealment, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

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  • PaulineMarch 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Taking levofloxcin left me with a damaged liver and horrific pain around the rib cage area, numbing of the fingers and a tingling sensation

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