Our experienced pharmaceutical lawsuit attorneys are currently investigating the potential connection between the antibiotic Levaquin and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), aortic dissection (tearing) and aortic aneurysm (rupture). While peripheral neuropathy is a chronic illness characterized by agonizing, debilitating pain; aortic aneurysm and dissection usually delivers a swift death. These dangerous side effects were unknown to patients and doctors who prescribed the antibiotics to patients.
Painful Side Effects
Recent studies have shown that a patient who takes Levaquin or another fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Avelox or Cipro, are at twice the risk of developing peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a type of potentially dangerous nerve damage that can develop after taking Levaquin antibiotic medication. Other painful and serious side effects of Levaquin include tendonitis and tendon rupture.
Levaquin Complications Reported by Users
- Aortic Aneurysm
- Aortic Rupture, Dissection
- Permanent Nerve Damage
- Tendonitis & Tendon Tears
- Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
Potentially Fatal Side Effects of the Antibiotic
In addition, use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics has been linked to aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection, causing deadly brain aneurysms that kill thousands of people every year. According to a recent study published by the journals of the American Journal of Medicine (JAMA), patients who have recently taken fluoroquinolone or Levaquin are 21/2 times more likely to develop an aortic dissection or aortic aneurysm.
Do You Qualify to File a Claim?
If you took the brand name drug Levaquin and have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, aortic dissection, or a loved one died suddenly from an aortic aneurysm after taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics, contact our experienced antibiotic drug attorneys to see if you qualify for a Levaquin lawsuit.
Why File a Levaquin Lawsuit?
Though Levaquin was originally intended to only be prescribed for life-threatening bacterial infections, such as meningitis, but has been widely prescribed to treat virtually any everyday problem, including sinus infections or ear infections. Why, you ask? Answer: lots and lots of marketing. Not only were Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone drugs over-prescribed, but they also carry a serious risk of peripheral neuropathy, a horrible and typically permanent form of nerve damage. Sadly, we talk to many people everyday whose lives were completely changed –and never for the better –because of Levaquin.
Top Reasons to File a Lawsuit
Can help you get money you need to pay for expensive medical bills, ongoing care medical care and lost income.
- Sends a message to the manufacturers of Levaquin that what they did was wrong.
- Helps prevent more people from suffering the same side effects of Levaquin.
Do I Qualify for a Levaquin Peripheral Neuropathy Lawsuit?
Though there have been lawsuits in the past regarding Levaquin use and tendon ruptures, our firm is focused on tackling a new issue: peripheral neuropathy. If you have taken the antibiotic Levaquin and later been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, which is a form of nerve damage, you may be able to qualify for a Levaquin lawsuit.
My Family Member Died from an Aortic Aneurysm After Taking Levaquin. Can I file a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for a Fatal Aneurysm?
If your loved one died from a fatal heart aneurysm after taking these antibiotics, you are probably a good candidate to file a wrongful death claim in an aortic dissection lawsuit against the drug manufacturers. If you had an aortic rupture repaired after taking fluoriquinolone or Levaquin antibiotics, you most likely qualify to file a personal injury claim for compensation. Call our firm to schedule a free consultation and confirm your eligibility.
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept cases from people who have been diagnosed with diabetes or people who took the generic Levofloxacin at this time. Please understand that this is completely out of our control. Read more about generic drugs and lawsuits here.
I Survived an Aortic Dissection After Taking Levaquin. Can I File a Lawsuit for Medical Bills & Ongoing Care Costs?
If you suffered from an aortic tear, aka aortic dissection from Levaquin, chances are you qualify to file a lawsuit for your injuries. Please contact us so that our attorneys can research your case to determine whether you are eligible for compensation more accurately.
What Will it Cost to File a Levaquin Lawsuit?
Simple answer: nothing.
Our attorneys offer a free initial review of your potential case. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we are paid a percentage of the final result of your case when (and if) we achieve a successful result for you. We cover all of the costs associated with your cases, such as filing fees or fees to obtain medical records. Once your case is completed, we receive reimbursement for these costs from the result.
Levaquin is in a class of antibiotic drugs known as fluoroquinolones. Levaquin is a commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotic intended to treat bacterial infections and illnesses. Levaquin may be used to tackle a range of bacteria strains from bacterial pneumonia, bacterial chronic bronchitis, life-threatening bacterial infections such as meningitis, symptoms caused by multiple, concurrent bacterial infections and bacterial infections that are resistant to other antibiotics. Women are sometimes prescribed Levaquin for routine bacterial urinary tract infections.
According to IMS Health, which tracks prescription drugs sales, Levaquin was the best-selling antibiotic drug in the United States in 2010, with sales of about $1.5 billion.
Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder that can occur in both the arms and the legs. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Loss of reflexes
- Shooting pain
- Change in the sense of body position
- Change in sensation to touch, pain or temperature
Peripheral neuropathy may occur any time during or after treatment with fluoroquinolones and can last up to many months or years after the treatment has stopped. It can also be permanent. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can develop rapidly, even within just a few days of starting Levaquin.
Peripheral neuropathy causes these symptoms as it damages the nerves that send information both to and from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. The damage causes an interruption to this connection and the varying symptoms of peripheral neuropathy depend on which nerves are affected from the damage.
Unfortunately, at this time, there has been no known efforts to recall Levaquin. Doctors are still prescribing Levaquin and patients are still susceptible, and largely unaware, of its dangers.
Levaquin is in a class of antibiotic drugs known as fluoroquinolones. The FDA has listed peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of this class of drugs since 2004, however, in August of 2013, the FDA determined that the existing warnings were insufficient. That is when the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication alerting the public that it was requiring a label-change for Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotic drugs to adequately warn of the risk for serious and potentially irreversible peripheral neuropathy.
The FDA Drug Safety Communication said that serious nerve damage caused by fluoroquinolones “may occur soon after these drugs are taken,” and that the “risk of peripheral neuropathy occurs only with fluoroquinolones that are taken by mouth or by injection” while the “topical formulations of fluoroquinolones, applied to the ears or eyes, are not known to be associated with this risk.”
In addition, the FDA Drug Safety Communication advised that patients who developed symptoms of peripheral neuropathy from taking a fluoroquinolone should stop taking the medication and be switched to a different class of antibacterial drugs — unless the benefit outweighs the risks of continuing to take the drug.
In 2008, the FDA had also required the most serious type of warning, a boxed warning, to be added to Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotic drugs to warn patients of the risk of tendon damage and rupture.
Unfortunately, the statistics of adverse reactions to leading fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin are not complete thanks to the way that the FDA’s database is built — in fact, the FDA only considers its system to reflect a mere 10 percent of the actual incidence of harm done to patients by fluoroquinolones.
With just this 10 percent of incidence, there were still 2,500 documented deaths resulting from the major fluoroquinolones like Levaquin and Cipro, and 45,000 cases of side effects by 2012.
FDA WARNING: On August 27, 2013, the FDA strengthened its warning that Levaquin may cause permanent peripheral neuropathy, a sudden and serious form of nerve damage.
Although the FDA has not issued an official recall of the antibiotics because of its link to aortic rupture and aortic dissection, the danger is real.
What is Aortic Dissection?
Aortic dissection occurs when the aorta, which is the main artery that carries blood to the heart, tears. When the aortic wall tears, blood can leak out and penetrate the surrounding blood vessels eventually causing a rupture.
Symptoms of Aortic Dissection Include
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden chest pain, then lingering
- Pain in upper back
- Sudden nerve-like ripping pain through chest
- Faint pulse on one side of the body
What is Aortic Aneurysm?
An aortic aneurysm is a rupture in the wall of the aorta, which can be caused by aortic dissection as mentioned above. Sometimes a congenital condition causes weakness or enlargement of the aortic valve. Other causes include smoking and trauma. Aortic aneurysm has a very high mortality rate.
Symptoms of Aortic Dissection Aneurysm
- Sudden chest, lower back, and/or abdominal pain, then lingering
- Pain in lower chest
- Low blood pressure (from internal aortic valve bleeding)
- Sudden nerve-like ripping pain through chest
- Numbness and/or loss of motor function on one side of the body
- Clammy, feverish feeling
Levaquin was developed by the Japanese pharmaceutical giant Daiichi Sankyo who licensed the patent to Sanofi-Aventis for use outside of the United States and to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) domestically via its subsidiary Ortho-McNeil. The first patent was granted for Levaquin in Europe in 1987. The FDA approved Levaquin in 1996 for sale within the United States. Generic versions were made available fifteen years later, in 2011.
In the United States, it is estimated that over six million prescriptions are written for oral Levaquin each year and that over one million patients in hospitals are treated with Levaquin intravenously. Patients, doctors and experts within the field of pharmacology have been warning of the serious dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin for over 15 years. While many antibiotics have side effects, patients, doctors and pharmacology experts have warned that these risks are much more severe with fluoroquinolones, as they can cause death from aortic aneurysm and dissection, permanent disability, or nerve damage.
From studies to even the drugs’ warning labels, severe and dangerous side effects associated with Levaquin can range from kidney damage, seizures, heart arrhythmia, retinal detachment, toxic psychosis, abnormal liver function, tendon rupture, muscle damage and peripheral neuropathy.
In 2001,a survey (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1345/aph.1Z429) published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy found a connection between fluoroquinolone antibiotics and long-term peripheral neuropathy.
Also in 2001, Indiana University Professor David Flockhart, one of the top experts on fluoroquinolone-related side effects, published research linking fluoroquinolones to neurotoxicity. Flockhart even reported that, “As many as a third of patients taking a fluoroquinolone will experience some sort of psychiatric side effect, such as anxiety, personality change or confusion […] The psychiatric effects of the fluoroquinolones are underappreciated by the medical profession as well as by the public.”
Eleven years later in April of 2012, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a link between fluoroquinolones and retinal detachment, leading to temporary or permanent blindness. And yet Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics are still being prescribed to patients to this day.
The FDA’s Drug Safety Communication in 2013 did not occur in a vacuum, in fact, it was greatly encouraged by consumer advocacy groups and former Levaquin and fluoroquinolone antibiotic drug patients who spoke up about their injuries.
What they said is unforgivable.
When patients taking Levaquin experienced symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, many of them told their doctors quickly. However, as the drug warnings were not allegedly sufficiently clear regarding the risk for permanent peripheral neuropathy — not to mention the quick timing in which the risk for peripheral neuropathy may occur in patients taking Levaquin — doctors prescribing Levaquin were ill-prepared to deal with the drugs’ dangerous side effects.
Some victims of Levaquin say that when they told their doctors of their symptoms, their doctors said, “This drug does not cause that.” Doctors have even prescribed some victims of Levaquin anti-anxiety medications as the doctors did not believe that the antibiotic was not the cause.
But it was.
Had Johnson & Johnson sufficiently warned their patients and doctors prescribing Levaquin of the risks, then doctors would have been better prepared. It was not the fault of the doctors — after all, had doctors known of the real risks, they would have been better able to assess the costs and benefits for a given patient and more likely to switch their patients to different antibiotics altogether should symptoms of peripheral neuropathy appear.
Levaquin is a serious antibiotic that should be used for serious, life-threatening events only. Prescribing Levaquin for routine urinary tract infections, sinus infections or earaches — as many victims of Levaquin have been — is not just unnecessary, it is reckless. And yet Johnson & Johnson allegedly marketed Levaquin for many of these conditions.
In fact, one recent study (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2334/11/187) found that in hospitals alone, 39 percent of fluoroquinolone prescriptions were unnecessary.
There are other antibiotics that are less risky that can cure non-serious infections. Not to mention the fact that the more an antibiotic is prescribed, the more likely the patient will become immune to the antibiotic. By promoting a strong antibiotic like Levaquin for routine infections, Johnson & Johnson risks the fact that patients might not respond well to the same antibiotic on a later date when their life might actually depend on it.
To sum this up: Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin are extremely powerful antibiotics meant to treat severe, life-threatening infections like antibiotic-resistant infections, hospital-induced pneumonia or other potentially deadly infections when other first-line antibiotics like penicillin will not work. Infectious disease experts consider fluoroquinolone antibiotics to be a “last resort.” When fluoroquinolones like Levaquin are used otherwise, the patient is put in danger.
Levaquin has been linked to aortic injuries such as aneurysms (bulges) and dissections (tears) since 2015, but it is still being prescribed today. Aortic aneurysms are often referred to as a “silent killer” because people can develop them without knowing. In many instances a person will have no idea he or she has an aortic aneurysm until it bursts – an occurrence that is fatal 50 percent of the time.
An aortic aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of the aorta that causes the affected section to balloon, or bulge outward. It can be located in the abdomen or chest.
An aortic dissection takes place when an aneurysm bursts, which leads to blood leaking deep into tissue. Paralysis, heart attack, stroke and death can occur as a result. Researchers believe that the degradation of collagen – connective tissue that comprises the aortic wall – leads to aneurysms and dissections. Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones can degrade collagen over time. Because of this, taking Levaquin can cause aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections; both of these conditions can be fatal.
While an aortic aneurysm can sometimes be treated with blood pressure medication, many times it will require surgery in order to remove the weakened portion and replace it with a graft. This, of course, can lead to incredibly high medical costs as well as lost wages due to time missed from work.