Levaquin Neuropathy Problems Likely to Lead to Lawsuit Influx

Following recent warning label updates about the risk of peripheral neuropathy from Levaquin, it appears likely that a large number of product liability lawsuits will soon be filed by former users of the popular antibiotic who have been suffering nerve problems for years. 

According to a report published last week by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Levaquin is one of the most frequently prescribed antibiotic in hospitals across the country, often prescribed for minor infections or even when there is no clear demonstrable need.

Prior to introduction of generic equivalents in 2011, brand-name Levaquin generated more than $1.3 billion in sales each year and the drug was prescribed more than 430 million times worldwide.

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Levaquin is part of 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.

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, which can cause users to experience severe pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness and sensory impairments.

While prior warnings suggested that reports of Levaquin neuropathy problems were rare and often resolve once the medication is no longer used, the new update confirms that the issues may last for months or even years after an individual stops taking the antibiotic, potentially causing permanent and disabling nerve damage that lasts the rest of their life.

As more and more individuals nationwide learn that nerve problems they have been experiencing for years may have been caused by use of the antibiotic in the past, a growing number of Levaquin lawsuits over peripheral neuropathy are being filed nationwide, alleging that the drug makers failed to adequately research their blockbuster drug or provide adequate warnings for consumers and the medical community.

These claims were bolstered by a study published earlier this year in the medical journal Neurology, which indicated that side effects of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones may double the risk of peripheral neuropathy. Researchers recommended 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 lawyers investigating cases anticipate that thousands of Levaquin peripheral neuropathy lawsuits may be filed over the coming months and years.

Following a 2009 Levaquin label change about the risk of tendon ruptures associated with use of the antibiotic, nearly 4,000 complaints were filed in state and federal courts nationwide. Most of those Levaquin lawsuits were settled in late 2012 and early 2013.

In addition to complaints over peripheral neuropathy following Levaquin use, it is expected that a number a Cipro lawsuits and Avelox lawsuits will also be filed against the manufacturers of those other antibiotics, which are also widely used members of the fluoroquinolone class.

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