Fluoroquinolones (FLQs) like Levaquin are the most widely used antibiotic in the United States, with more than 26 million Americans taking them each year. FLQs are used to treat and fight infections by targeting bacteria DNA and preventing it from replicating. Examples of the illnesses an FLQ help treat include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin Infections
- And More
While these benefits may make an FLQ like Levaquin sound like a miracle drug, the reality is far different. Recently, the FDA has warned that using these frequently described drugs may increase risks to the point that those risks outweigh the benefits of FLQ use.
If you or a loved one has used an FLQ like Levaquin, talk to a Levaquin lawyer in Jackson, MS immediately. Talk to a member of our team at Maggio Thompson, LLP to work with a Gulfport, MS Levaquin attorney who will help you determine whether you have a strong case that indicates you are likely to receive compensation for your injuries.
Known Risks of Levaquin and Other FLQs
Levaquin is the second-most popular drug among FLQs, constituting 28% of all FLQ prescriptions. While it may be difficult to believe, Levaquin and other FLQs have already shown the potential to increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy, which is a serious form of nerve damage capable of causing:
- Nerve spasms
- Chronic nerve pain
- Weakness in the muscles
- Pain and/or numbness
- And more
These risks led the FDA to require Levaquin makers and other FLQ drugmakers to add a warning to their labels with regards to peripheral neuropathy. However, there was no such warning included on labels years after a 2001 study linked peripheral neuropathy with the use of FLQs. The initial FDA requirement was not issued until 2004, and an updated 2013 warning instructs doctors to discontinue FLQ treatment if patients develop nerve damage symptoms. A 2014 study from Neurology also highlighted research that found using antibiotics from the FLQ class doubled the risk of peripheral neuropathy. A number of peripheral neuropathy lawsuits are currently being litigated as a result of these combined factors.
More recently, however, two new studies link Levaquin with the potential to increase the risk of aortic aneurysms and aortic dissection. The first study was conducted by JAMA Internal Medicine, which found that current FLQ users were twice as likely to develop an aortic aneurysm. A month later, a November 2015 study from British Medical Journal suggested that using an FLQ like Levaquin triples aortic aneurysm risk.
Aortic aneurysms are ruptures of the aortic walls that are capable of spilling blood into the rest of the body and causing rapid death. For their part, aortic dissections are tears of the aortic wall that can also be fatal. Worse, these aneurysms are often difficult to notice. In such cases, the aorta may rip open unexpectedly, which is what leads to the rapid bleeding and fast death. It is unsurprising, then, that aneurysms are referred to as “silent killers” in the medical community. Medical research and reports show that individuals who ingest an FLQ like Levaquin more than 60 days before their aortic event are 48% more likely to have an increased risk of aneurysm.
How is this possible? One possibility is that FLQs do to the aortic walls what they have been shown to do to tendons. Studies in the 2000s traced weakening of tendons to FLQs, and the FDA orders FLQ makers to update their risk information with a Black Box warning as a result. Some medical professionals speculate that the aortic walls are similarly impacted.
Despite this link and the reason for concern, not a single FLQ label has made mention of the potential aortic aneurysm and dissection risks. Levaquin’s label, however, does not mention anything at all related to aortic aneurysm or dissection risks. Here is aLevaquin label lacking any such warning or risk information. Frankly, given the grave risk of death and serious injury from aortic aneurysms and the evidence supporting that Levaquin may cause increased aortic risks, it is shocking that such information is excluded from the product’s warning label.
As such, our team at Maggio Thompson, LLP provides legal representation to aortic aneurysm and dissection victims who want to talk to a Levaquin attorney in Jackson, MS. If you or a loved on has been injured or worse by taking Levaquin or a similar FLQ, contact Maggio Thompson, LLP to receive a legal consultation and speak with a Mississippi Levaquin lawyer immediately. You may be entitled to legal compensation for your injuries while holding the makers of Levaquin accountable for their lack of labeling that warns users of their increased aortic risks.