In December of 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told patients to avoid Levaquin and similar antibiotics because they increase the risk of aortic dissection, a life-threatening condition. Although the agency did not take Levaquin off the market, the FDA warned patients that using Levaquin could cause a tear or bulge in the aortic artery. This causes excessive bleeding and potential loss of life.
The FDA noted that the underlying reason for an increased risk of aortic dissection is not understood. FDA issued the warning about Levaquin based on reports and studies that showed a consistently greater risk that Levaquin elevates the likelihood of an aortic dissection.
Levaquin Causes Aortic Dissection Particularly for Certain Risk Groups
Levaquin is the brand name for levofloxacin. Levaquin is a class of fluoroquinolone antibiotics that have been prescribed by doctors for 30 years for such conditions as pneumonia, serious respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections. These medicines target specific bacterial infections that could become fatal if untreated.
In addition to Levaquin, these types of antibiotics also include the following brand name medications:
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Factive (gemifloxacin)
- Avelox (moxifloxacin)
- Noroxin (norfloxacin)
- Floxin (ofloxacin)
Patients Most at Risk for Aortic Dissection Should Avoid Levaquin
The FDA advises doctors to avoid prescribing Levaquin to patients who are most at risk for an aortic aneurysm. These high-risk groups include:
- Elderly patients
- People with cardiac artery disease and similar vascular conditions
- High blood pressure
- Patients with certain genetic conditions such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Healthcare providers should not prescribe Levaquin to these patients unless there are no other treatment options available.
Aortic Dissection Often Occurs Without Warning or Symptoms
Aortic dissections typically do not have any symptoms. A healthy aorta has thick walls that withstand normal blood pressure. If Levaquin causes a bulge or tears in these walls, even a normal flow of blood pushing against this weak area can make it rupture or split.
An aortic rupture is called an aneurysm; an aortic split is called a dissection. Patients do not usually have any symptoms of an aortic dissection or aneurysm until it is too late. If you are taking Levaquin, get medical attention at once if you have sudden, severe, or constant pain in your stomach, chest, or back. This could be your only warning sign of a potential aortic dissection.
The Warning That Levaquin Causes Aortic Dissection Is the Latest Safety Concern
The 2018 FDA warning about the link between Levaquin and aortic dissection is one of several safety announcements issued for this class of antibiotics. Levaquin is one of 60 brand name and generic fluoroquinolone antibiotics. They are the most widely prescribed anti-bacterial medications in the world.
However effective Levaquin may be in fighting bacterial infections, the drug has a history of safety warnings for adverse side effects.
Several Safety Warnings from the FDA
In 2008, the FDA put a warning on Levaquin boxes that the drug increases the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. Five years later, the agency issued a label warning that oral and injected doses of Levaquin increases the risk of peripheral neuropathy, a nerve condition that can cause weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet.
In 2016, the FDA updated the box warning after some patients developed disabling and potentially permanent damage to muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, and the central nervous system. That same year, the agency strengthened its warnings that Levaquin may increase the risk of hypoglycemic coma, memory impairment, and delirium.
Potential Compensation for Levaquin Users with Aortic Dissection Complications
The most recent FDA warning that Levaquin causes aortic dissection is a serious threat to patients who are prescribed the drug. Healthcare providers have an obligation to avoid prescribing Levaquin unless there are no other practical treatment options. They also must watch patients who are taking the drug for signs of aortic dissection.
If you or a loved one suffered an aortic dissection after taking Levaquin, you may be entitled to compensation. Newsome | Melton limits its practice to help people with serious health injuries. We also help surviving family members seek financial recovery through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Each case is different, but compensation from a Levaquin-related injury or loss of life may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lifecare costs
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium, companionship, protection, and guidance
Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis only. You do not owe attorney fees unless and until we are able to recover compensation on your behalf.
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Levaquin is an antibiotic that, although used for many decades, caused severe harm to many people. The drug’s historical use was to treat respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and some skin infections. Read on for what you need to know about the Levaquin lawsuit. The Levaquin lawsuits arose because people eventually realized that the antibioticRead More