If the patient generally has good health, the body can eliminate Levaquin (levofloxacin) in about 30 to 40 hours, or about a day and a half to two days, but some side effects of the drug can show up as long as two months or longer after taking the medicine. Some of the adverse reactions are irreversible.
Levaquin is a type of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. These medications have been in use, in one form or another, for over 30 years. Doctors used to prescribe these antibiotics frequently to treat skin infections, bronchitis, and infections of the sinus or urinary tract. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings and restrictions about the use of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones because of dangerous side effects.
Significant Side Effects of Levaquin
Because of the potential harm this drug can cause, the FDA warns that doctors should only prescribe it when there is no viable alternative to treat the person’s illness. Children under the age of 18 should only take Levaquin if they have the plague or have exposure to anthrax or the plague.
Make sure that you tell your doctor all other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements you take. Levaquin can cause a life-threatening reaction when combined with other substances, and these can occur many hours after your last dose due to how long it takes for Levaquin to leave the body.
The adverse reactions of Levaquin can include:
- Ruptures or tears in the aorta, the main artery of the body. Aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm are other terms for this condition. These conditions can cause hemorrhage or death.
- Swelling of tendons (tendinitis) or rupture of tendons can happen when taking Levaquin or as long as several months after taking the antibiotic
- Nerve damage and changes in sensation can happen soon after you start taking Levaquin. The nerve damage is sometimes permanent.
- Levaquin can harm your brain or nervous system. This adverse reaction can happen with only one dose of the antibiotic.
- Levaquin is particularly dangerous for people with myasthenia gravis, which is a nervous system disorder. The antibiotic can worsen the muscle weakness of myasthenia gravis to the extent that a person can struggle to breathe or can die.
- The antibiotic can cause very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), particularly in people who take insulin or other diabetes medicine. If not treated, hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness, coma, seizures, and death.
Signs That You Might Have a Side Effect from Levaquin
Although the body can pass the drug within a couple of days, you should get medical attention if you develop any of these side effects during or within months after taking Levaquin:
Symptoms of aortic dissection, aneurysm, tears, or rupture:
Call 911 immediately if you feel sudden, severe, or constant pain in your chest, stomach, or back. Damage to the aorta requires emergency surgery. If the aorta ruptures or there is an aneurysm of the aorta, the situation is usually fatal.
Signs of tendinitis or tendon rupture:
Contact your doctor right away if you experience pain, tenderness, swelling, stiffness, difficulty moving a muscle, hear or feel a pop or snap in the area of a tendon, cannot bear weight or move in an affected area, or have bruising after an injury to the area of a tendon.
Symptoms of nerve damage:
Call your doctor right away if you feel numbness, pain, burning, tingling, or weakness in your arms or legs or if you have heightened or lessened ability to perceive pain, heat, cold, light touch, or vibrations.
Signs of damage to the brain or nervous system:
Get immediate medical attention if you experience seizures, headaches that do not stop (might come with blurred vision), dizziness, tremors, lightheadedness, paranoia, hallucinations, nightmares, suicidal ideation, insomnia, memory issues, confusion, nervousness or anxiety, depression, restlessness, or other mood or behavior changes.
Symptoms of complications of myasthenia gravis:
Call 911 if you are a myasthenia gravis patient and have difficulty breathing or increased muscle weakness when or after taking Levaquin.
Signs of hypoglycemia:
Get immediate medical attention if you experience blurred vision, confusion, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, headaches, difficulty concentrating, cold sweats, shakiness, cool pale skin, drowsiness, nervousness, behavior resembling drunkenness, excessive hunger, unusual weakness or fatigue.
Common Adverse Reactions to Levaquin
In addition to the specific side effects discussed above, Levaquin can cause these more general complications either while taking the drug of for several months afterward:
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea
- Vaginal itching or discharge
- Peeling, blistering, hives, rash, or itching of the skin
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, eyes, mouth, or throat
- Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- A cough that will not go away
- Tightness or hoarseness of the throat
- Fainting or losing consciousness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin, pale skin, light-colored stool, dark urine
- Fast or fluttering heartbeat, pale skin, trembling, blurred vision, extreme hunger or thirst, shaking, frequent urination, unusual anxiety
If you or a loved one have been injured by or while taking Levaquin, it may constitute a case of medical negligence. We can help if you were harmed due in part to how long it takes Levaquin to leave the body.
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