Fluoroquinolones such as Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox are antibiotics prescribed to treat certain types of infections. Originally only used to treat severe urinary tract infections, their usage has grown dramatically since the late 1980s. Unfortunately, so has evidence they can cause serious health complications in many users. Among these complications are deadly aneurysms and debilitating neuropathy.
If you or a loved one suffered from peripheral neuropathy, a ruptured aneurysm, or another serious side effect while taking this type of antibiotic, call a fluoroquinolones aneurysm, neuropathy lawsuit lawyer at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today. We can evaluate your situation and help you understand the strength of your case against the drug manufacturer. Call us at 631-600-0000 to schedule a free consultation.
What Types of Serious Side Effects Are Linked to Fluoroquinolone Therapy?
Over the last decade or so, the increase in use prompted a major increase in users reporting varying side effects of fluoroquinolone medications. Many of the fluoroquinolone complaints that allege devastating injuries or even death revolve around two serious side effects of the class of drugs:
There is a well-documented relationship between this type of antibiotic and peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a painful, annoying, and debilitating nerve disorder that causes lack of sensation or a tingling sensation in the arms and legs.
It often begins within a few days of starting treatment with fluoroquinolones, although it can start at any time during the course of treatment. Often the condition clears up after stopping the antibiotic. In some patients, this takes years. Others may not fully recover.
These medications can cause issues with collagen, which lines much of the body’s circulatory system and plays an important role in keeping veins and arteries strong. The loss of collagen weakens the vessels, allowing aneurysms to form much more readily.
A ruptured aneurysm calls for an emergency response, and some can be deadly within minutes. A related problem, an aortic aneurysm, is even more dangerous. This can cause dissection of the aorta, which plays a key role in pumping blood through the heart.
Those who develop an aneurysm and survive may require emergency surgery, or the placement of a stent in the aorta, in the case of aortic aneurysms.
Has the FDA Taken Action Regarding the Possible Effects of Fluoroquinolone Therapy?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken significant action to warn those prescribed these drugs about the potential side effects. In 2008, the FDA first ordered a black box warning put on all fluoroquinolone medications. This is the most serious warning the agency issues, and is often required because of a deadly side effect.
Initially the warning only discussed an increased risk of tendon rupture and other tendon injuries. The FDA has since expanded this warning several times, thanks to new information and a comprehensive safety review of the drug.
In 2011, the FDA added a warning about the possible development of myasthenia gravis while taking the medication. This neuromuscular disease causes marked weakness. Just two years later they added an additional warning about the greatly increased risk of peripheral neuropathy.
In 2014, a study published in Neurology echoed the FDA’s stance on an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy, while a 2015 study in BMJ linked the drugs to an increased risk of aortic aneurysm.
As of August 2017, the FDA recommends doctors only prescribe fluoroquinolones for bacterial infections where no safer alternative treatment exists. It recommends against use for sinus infections, chronic bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections unless the doctor has exhausted all other options first.
Are There Any Fluoroquinolones Lawsuits Pending?
Almost every major drug maker has at least one fluoroquinolone antibiotic on the market, and most face legal action about the potential side effects of these drugs. They include:
- Bayer Corporation
- Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Johnson & Johnson
- Janssen Research & Development, LLC
- Merck & Co Inc.
The plaintiffs in these cases allege these companies failed to adequately warn them of the full range of disabling and deadly side effects of these drugs, most prominently peripheral neuropathy and aneurysm. Most of these pharmaceutical companies continue to maintain that the drugs pose no unreasonable danger, and that their warnings are adequate.
Many fluoroquinolone lawsuits related to Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin brand name drug settled out of court, but there are many others still pending. The cases involving Cipro and Avelox are proceeding as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.
Bayer Corporation and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc., respectively, manufacturer these brand name drugs and seem to be willing to fight these suits all the way to court. The bellwether trials, with cases carefully selected to represent the majority of the plaintiffs, should begin in 2018 or 2019.
What Should I Do If I Believe I Suffered Injuries Because of Fluoroquinolone Therapy?
If you or an immediate family member suffered serious side effects such as a ruptured aneurysm, a dissected aorta, or peripheral neuropathy while taking Cipro, Avelox, Levaquin, Floxin, Noroxin, Factive, or another fluoroquinolone, you need a skilled and knowledgeable fluoroquinolone lawsuit lawyer on your side right away.
The attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. can evaluate your case, and help you determine the next steps to recover the compensation you deserve to pay your hospital bills, cover lost wages, and help you overcome your pain and suffering. If you believe you might be entitled to compensation because of your fluoroquinolone therapy side effects, we can help.
Call us today at 631-600-0000. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing until we recover the money you deserve from the drug manufacturer.