Levaquin Neuropathy Lawsuit Claims Label Misled Doctors, Patients
According to allegations in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, side effects of Levaquin are being blamed for nerve damage experienced by a woman who took the antibiotic for more than a year.
Wilma Cody filed a complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on February 1, naming Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen subsidiary as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Cody was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy from Levaquin, following use of the antibiotic from January 2010 through April 2011. Although the drug warning label indicated that any reports of nerve damage associated with the antibiotic resolve when the medication is no longer used, Cody indicates that she has suffered persistent and permanent injury.
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The case joins a growing number of similar Levaquin neuropathy lawsuits filed in courts throughout the U.S., alleging that the drug makers misled doctors and patients, withholding information about reports of nerve damage that continued in some patients long after they stopped using the antibiotic.
“The warning label for Levaquin during the period from September 2004 through August 2013 misled Plaintiff and her treating physician by incorrectly advising patients and physicians that peripheral neuropathy associated with Levaquin was ‘rare’ and in any case could be avoided by discontinuing the drug upon the onset of certain symptoms,” the lawsuit states. “The truth, however, is that the onset of irreversible peripheral neuropathy is often rapid and discontinuation of the drug will not ensure that peripheral neuropathy is reversible.”
Cody presents claims against the drug maker for strict liability, failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, negligent representation and fraudulent concealment.
Litigation Over Levaquin and Peripheral Neuropathy
In the federal court system, there are more than 350 similar lawsuits involving peripheral neuropathy from Levaquin, as well as other fluoroquinolone-based antibiotics that are part of the same class of medications, including Avelox lawsuits and Cipro lawsuits.
The cases are currently centralized as part of a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation, before U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim in the District of Minnesota, and it is expected that Cody’s complaint will be transferred into these coordinated pretrial proceedings.
As antibiotic nerve damage lawyers continue to review and file cases in the coming months and years, it is ultimately expected that several thousand lawsuits will be involved in the litigation, each alleging that plaintiffs have been left with permanent peripheral neuropathy following use of the drugs.
Given the similar claims raised in the complaints, Judge Tunheim is expected to schedule a series of “bellwether” trials in the MDL, which would be designed to gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the cases.
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