If you or a close relative experienced an adverse event like peripheral neuropathy, aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, mental health issues, low blood sugar, or coma after taking Levaquin (levofloxacin) to treat an infection, you might have a claim for damages. A Levaquin lawsuit lawyer can help you go after compensation for your losses.
Call Newsome | Melton today at (855) 633-2757, to schedule a time for a free case evaluation to find out if you might be eligible for damages.
The Levaquin Lawsuits
Levaquin can cause multiple side effects. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, made the drug Levaquin (levofloxacin) for decades to treat infections. Although the medication worked well on infections, it can cause severe adverse reactions, some of which can be fatal.
Johnson & Johnson settled hundreds of lawsuits from 2010 through 2012 for tendon injuries caused by their drug Levaquin. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, stopped making Levaquin in 2018. However, generic drug manufacturers are still making the medication as levofloxacin.
After the tendon injury lawsuits, people discovered that Levaquin can cause peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage that causes debilitating pain. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that Janssen knew as far back as possibly 1996, but definitely by 2001, that the drug could cause peripheral neuropathy. Janssen failed to warn adequately about the possibility of nerve damage.
The Mayo Clinic says that peripheral neuropathy happens when nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves) get damaged. In other words, the drug harms the nerves in your arms and legs. The damage can affect your hands and feet as well as other areas of the body. People with peripheral neuropathy often feel pain, weakness, and numbness.
Many different things can cause peripheral nerve damage. Various diseases and disorders like diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and infections like hepatitis can result in peripheral neuropathy. The Mayo Clinic also says that certain medications can cause the condition.
Aortic Dissection or Aortic Aneurysm
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, so when it tears or ruptures, the situation is a medical emergency. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in late 2018 that certain kinds of antibiotics can cause aortic aneurysms. The FDA said that the benefits of fluoroquinolone antibiotics do not justify the risks for some patients.
Doctors continue to prescribe fluoroquinolone antibiotics to treat infections like pneumonia, other severe respiratory illnesses, urinary tract infections, and other life-threatening illnesses including anthrax exposure and the plague. Some of the brand names of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics are:
- Levaquin (levofloxacin)
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Avelox (moxifloxacin)
- Factive (gemifloxacin)
- Floxin (ofloxacin)
The FDA warns that people at the highest risk of aortic aneurysm from fluoroquinolone antibiotics are:
- The elderly
- People with high blood pressure
- Patients with previous blockages of blood vessels
- People with genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Taking Levaquin or other fluoroquinolone antibiotics can double the risk of people in those categories of having an aortic dissection or aortic aneurysm.
Aortic dissection happens when a tear develops in the aorta, and blood rushes through the opening, sending the blood flow from the heart into two (dissecting) directions. As a result, vital organs and other parts of the body can sustain damage from a lack of adequate blood supply.
An aortic dissection often starts in the inner layer of the aorta. The surge of blood splits the area between the inner layer and the middle layer of the aorta. If the pressure causes the tear to extend to the outer payer, the patient usually dies. In any aortic dissection case, the patient needs emergency surgery to repair the tear and prevent a fatal result. Most aortic dissection repair operations require open-heart surgery.
Mental Health Side Effects
Some sources also report that Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause mental health adverse reactions, like:
- Memory impairment
- Disturbances in mental abilities and attention
- Other psychiatric side effects
One college student jumped out of a second story window and crashed his car into a concrete embankment in 2013 after taking Levaquin. He died from his injuries. His mother blames Levaquin for his death. The FDA cautions that psychiatric side effects can happen after only one dose of the antibiotics.
Blood Sugar Drops and Coma
In July of 2018, the FDA issued a warning that antibiotics containing fluoroquinolone can cause extreme drops in blood sugar, to the point of inducing coma or causing death in some patients. Older patients and diabetics who take medicines like insulin to lower their blood sugar are at highest risk of these complications.
Most packaging labels already contained a warning about blood sugar disturbances like high or low blood sugar before the July 2018 FDA alert. The FDA increased the labeling requirement to include a warning that the drug can cause low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) and can result in coma.
What to Do if You Suspect That Levaquin Caused an Adverse Reaction
It can be hard to know if you experienced a severe side effect from Levaquin because we now know that the drug can cause many different problems. If you or a loved one took Levaquin to treat an infection and had a complication at some point after the first dose, you might be eligible for money damages.
The known adverse reactions to Levaquin include:
- Peripheral nerve damage
- Tendon injury
- Aortic dissection or aneurysm
- Mental health issues
- Blood sugar disturbances
A Levaquin lawsuit lawyer can help you go after compensation for your losses. At Newsome | Melton, we can evaluate your medical history, review and analyze your medical records, and determine whether Levaquin might have caused your adverse medical event.
If a Levaquin lawsuit lawyer takes your case, you will not have to pay upfront legal fees for us to help you. We handle these lawsuits on a contingent fee basis, which means that we get paid from the settlement or award at the end.