Serious Side Effects Associated with Popular Antibiotic
Google “fluoroquinolones,” and page after page of search results come up about the dangers, risks and side effects of the antibiotic. Articles appear citing arrhythmia, nerve damage and type 2 diabetes all being associated with the pills sold commercially as Avelox, Cipro and Levaquin.
The popularity of such drugs has soared in recent years because doctors are quick to prescribe them for dozens of common illnesses, including respiratory, sinus and urinary-tract infections. But serious side effects started surfacing from patients – some experienced potentially deadly aneurysms and aortic dissections – and turned the so-called wonder pill into the more-aptly-named bitter pill.
“If you are taking a fluoroquinolone drug…by mouth or by injection, know that it may cause symptoms in the arms or legs such as pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or a change in sensation to light touch, pain or temperature,” reads a safety communication issued by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. “These symptoms can occur early in treatment and may be permanent.”
While the FDA warns of the risk of peripheral neuropathy in fluoroquinolone users, it has yet to do so in regard to the risk of aneurysms and aortic dissections, which Drugwatch.com describes as two of the most-serious side effects.
By Osmosis (open.osmosis.org)
“Attorneys are now accepting cases from people who suffered aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm after taking a fluoroquinolone and expect the case count to rapidly grow, according to the Web site.
Currently, the majority of cases stems from peripheral neuropathy and claim wrongdoing on the part of pharmaceutical companies for failure to warn, fraud and negligence. Drugwatch.com estimates that, of the 2,000-plus Levaquin cases against Johnson & Johnson, an approximate 100 are pending.
“More than 26 million Americans receive a prescription for a fluoroquinolone antibiotic like Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox each year,” the Web site states. “These drugs treat a wide variety of infections. But, they are also linked to dangerous side effects like nerve damage, aortic aneurysms (bulges) or dissections (tears). Damage to the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, can lead to strokes, heart attacks and even death.”
The FDA safety communications instructs consumers to contact their physicians immediately if taking fluoroquinolones and suffering symptoms. It advises them to not stop taking the drug and switching to another without a doctor’s order.
Consumers also should read the label that came with the prescription and discuss any concerns with their physicians.
Lastly, consumers are encouraged to report any side effects to the FDA via the MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form.