Did You Suffer Serious Injury After Taking a Fluoroquinolone like Levaquin?
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Do you suffer from sinus infections, urinary tract infections, or bronchitis? If so, you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from these illnesses each year. If you went to your family doctor for treatment, your doctor probably prescribed a fluoroquinolone antibiotic to treat the illness. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox are common treatments for bronchitis, sinus infections, and urinary tract infections. Millions of prescriptions are written each year in this country for fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
However, fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin should not be the primary treatment for infections like these. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics should be reserved for treating infections that are resistant to other treatments or infections that are difficult to treat. A grave concern with overprescribing Levaquin and other drugs in the same class is that these drugs have serious side effects, including nerve damage, vision problems, tendon injuries, and internal complications that could result in death.
What are the Side Effects of Levaquin?
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics can damage collagen proteins. Collagen is found throughout your body in your skin, bones, tendons, muscles, and connective tissue. When collagen breaks down, it can result in serious physical conditions including:
- Blindness and retinal detachment
- Aortic dissection
- Tendon rupture and tendinitis
- An aortic aneurysm
- Central nervous system issues
However, it is important to point out that Levaquin is not the only fluoroquinolone antibiotic that has the potential for causing dangerous conditions or severe side effects. Other drugs that can cause serious side effects and problems include:
- Proquin XR
An Aortic Aneurysm and Levaquin
An aortic aneurysm occurs when a fragile spot appears in the aortic wall. The condition is extremely serious, and it can be fatal. Your aorta extends from your heart to your lower extremities. It passes through the abdomen before it splits to travel through each leg. The collagen in your body gives the aortic walls the elastic strength they need to transport blood.
If the collagen begins to break down, it can result in a fragile spot within the aortic wall. The spot then begins to fill with blood. As the spot swells with blood, it creates a balloon-like bulge in the wall that can burst. The potential dangers of an aneurysm include stroke, reduced blood supply to your lower extremities, and blood clots.
Unfortunately, many people with an aneurysm in the aortic wall do not realize they have a problem until the aneurysm ruptures. If the aneurysm ruptures, the person can bleed to death very quickly. Some individuals may experience constant stomach or chest pain or inconsistent pain as the aneurysm grows, but they may not associate the pain with a potentially deadly condition.
Vision Loss and Retinal Detachment
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin are also associated with a permanent loss of vision and retinal detachment. Researchers estimated that fluoroquinolone antibiotics could cause retinal detachment and vision loss in approximately 1,440 patients annually. According to the study findings published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, the average time it takes for retinal detachment after beginning a fluoroquinolone antibiotic is as little as 4.8 days.
If you experience any of the following symptoms of retinal detachment, you should seek immediate medical attention from your eye doctor or the emergency room:
- Flashes of light behind your eye
- Tunnel vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Partial loss of vision
- Eye pain
- The feeling like a curtain is being pulled behind your eyes
- New floaters in your vision
The retina is a thin layer of tissue that is attached to the back of the eye. It is light-sensitive and is tasked with sending signals to the brain through the optic nerve. If the retina detaches, it can no longer receive nutrients and oxygen from the blood vessels that feed the eye, and if not treated promptly, vision can be lost permanently.
Fluoroquinolone Aortic Dissection
The three layers of the aorta are:
- The inner layer that transports blood like a tunnel;
- The middle layer that consists of muscle and fiber; and,
- The outer layer that assists with maintaining the flexible support of the middle layer.
When the collagen begins to break down, the aortic walls become weak, causing the inner layer to develop tiny slits. The slits in the inner wall permit blood to escape to the outer layers, causing the artery to become weak and rupture. If the artery ruptures, you can bleed out before help arrives.
If your aorta bursts, you might experience symptoms including:
- Weakness on one side of your body
- A powerful slashing pain across the back or chest
- Loss of vision or blurry vision
- Loss of consciousness
- Your pulse may be weak on either side of your body
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Difficulty speaking
An aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection can also cause other health problems. Other health conditions that might develop include stroke, internal bleeding, organ damage, and aortic valve damage.
Researchers conducted a study to determine the risk of an aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection in patients using oral fluoroquinolone drugs. After analyzing the data, they found that oral fluoroquinolone medications were associated with an increased risk of developing an aortic dissection or an aortic aneurysm. The findings were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The History of Dangerous Side Effects Associated with Fluoroquinolones
There have been numerous reports of debilitating and dangerous adverse events associated with fluoroquinolones ever since Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones were approved by the FDA. In response to the adverse event reports and other evidence, the FDA compelled warning label changes by the drug manufacturers to note the following adverse side effects:
- Tendon Rupture and Tendonitis Boxed Warning — The FDA added this boxed warning to fluoroquinolone labels in 2004 to warn the public and physicians of an increased risk of tendon damage in elderly patients and patients using steroid medications. By 2008, there were enough adverse event complaints for the FDA to increase the warning to a Black Box warning, the most serious FDA warning, for the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, especially in areas of the body that are susceptible to rupture.
- Warning: Central Nervous System — Cipro had carried a warning on its label for changes in mental state, seizures, tremors, and the potential for psychosis and intracranial pressure. However, in 2011, the label was modified to add pseudotumor cerebri as a potential side effect. This condition causes intracranial pressure and has the symptoms of a brain tumor.
- Warning: Neuropathy — The FDA requested that drug manufacturers add a warning stating that patients who used fluoroquinolones had an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy. In 2013, the FDA issued a Safety Communication warning consumers and the medical community of permanent nerve damage and impairment linked to fluoroquinolones. The FDA required a label change for this as well.
- Exacerbation of Myasthenia Gravis — The FDA required a Black Box warning, the strongest warning, advising doctors of the risk of death for patients who suffer from Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune disorder, when they were prescribed a fluoroquinolone.
- Fluoroquinolone-Associated Disability (FQAD) — The FDA revised the Boxed Warning on fluoroquinolone labels because the number of people suffering from a group of symptoms that impact the neurologic, cardiac, dermatologic, neuro-psychiatric, and musculoskeletal systems was increasing.
How Can Our Law Firm Help You?
Our lawyers believe that the dangers and risks associated with using fluoroquinolone antibiotics do not always outweigh the potential benefits. However, the drug manufacturers market fluoroquinolones as safe, effective medications to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions.
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed to date, alleging that the drug manufacturers knew of the potential for debilitating and dangerous side effects of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones, but they failed to warn the public and medical community adequately. As a result, thousands of people have been seriously injured, permanently impaired, or died because of the drug companies’ failure to take reasonable steps to provide sufficient warning labels.
Levaquin lawsuits are being filed across American by patients who were injured because of the drug company’s negligence. These individuals suffered severe side-effects and permanent disabilities because they trusted the company’s claims that Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics were safe to use. These plaintiffs are seeking compensation for their injuries, pain, disabilities, suffering, and financial losses.
If you have used a fluoroquinolone antibiotic like Levaquin and been harmed, our attorneys can help. We are fierce and aggressive advocates for individuals who have been harmed by big pharmaceutical companies. We are resolute in our dedication to protecting the legal rights of patients who have suffered central nervous system disorders, peripheral neuropathy, tendonitis, aortic aneurysm, or other fluoroquinolone-related disabilities.
Call today for your free case evaluation and no-obligation legal consultation. We can help you too!