Lawsuit Alleges Levaquin Side Effects Caused Irreversible Nerve Damage

Amid increasing concerns about the health risks associated with antibiotics like Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro, including recent studies that suggest the drugs may cause users to suffer an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection, a growing number of product liability lawsuits continue to be filed by individuals who developed irreversible nerve damage following use of the drugs.ok

In a complaint (PDF) filed earlier this week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Tarrance Richardson indicates that he developed a form of permanent peripheral neuropathy from Levaquin, known as paresthesia.

Richardson indicates that he was prescribed Levaquin in April 2013, and was later diagnosed with paresthesia, which usually causes tingling and pricking sensations associated with peripheral nerve damage. It has been deemed permanent and irreversible, and Richardson alleges the makers of the popular antibiotic failed to adequately warn users and the medical community about the risk that Levaquin may cause irreversible nerve damage.

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The case joins about 400 similar Levaquin lawsuits, Avelox lawsuits and Cipro lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system over nerve damage caused by the antibiotics, which are all part of a controversial class of medications known as fluoroquinolones.

While the medications have been known to cause nerve damage for years, until 2013 warnings provided by the drug makers suggested that the problems were rare and resolved after the antibiotics were no longer used. However, plaintiffs claim that has not been the case, indicating that they may have avoided permanent and disabling injuries if they had been adequately warned about the risks associated with the drugs.

In recent months, there have been increasing concerns about the safety of fluoroquinolone-based antibiotics, and the widespread overuse of the drugs. In addition to a risk of nerve damage, Levaquin, Avelox, Cipro and other similar antibiotics have also been linked to a risk of tendon ruptures, retinal detachment and other health concerns.

Late last year, new research suggested that these same issues with collagen degradation associated with the drugs may also increase the risk that users suffer an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection, which are painful and potentially life-threatening complications linked to the antibiotics.

In May, the FDA issued a drug safety communication that urged doctors not to prescribe fluoroquinolones for many common infections that are uncomplicated and have other available treatment options, indicating that the risks associated with the antibiotics outweigh the benefits.

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