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 antibiotic could cause adverse reactions, some of which can be fatal. If you took Levaquin and experienced a severe side effect, a Levaquin lawsuit lawyer can help you pursue money damages.
Currently, there is a fluoroquinolone multi-district litigation (MDL) matter in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The MDL gathered over 350 individual lawsuits from plaintiffs across the United States, suing the defendants, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Merch & Co, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Research & Development LLC, McKesson Corporation, Schering Corporations, and Bayer Corporation, for side effects from Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
Call a Levaquin lawsuit lawyer from Pintas & Mullins at (855) 633-257 today, to set up a free consultation and injury claim evaluation.
Levaquin and Other Fluoroquinolones
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in 2016 that, for patients with acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS), acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (ABECB), and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs), the serious side effects of fluoroquinolones (like Levaquin) usually outweigh the therapeutic benefits if the patient can tolerate a different drug that is effective against the infection. Some of the brand names of fluoroquinolone antibiotics include:
- Levaquin (levofloxacin)
- Floxin (ofloxacin)
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Factive (gemifloxacin)
- Avelox (moxifloxacin)
Side Effects of Levaquin
You might be eligible to collect compensation for your losses if you experienced one of these severe adverse reactions after taking Levaquin:
- Tendon injury. Johnson and Johnson ended up paying money damages to plaintiffs in hundreds of lawsuits because Levaquin can cause ruptured tendons. Some of the harm was irreversible and debilitating.
- Peripheral neuropathy (PN). This condition is nerve damage that causes chronic pain at levels that can make it difficult to function. Janssen failed to warn patients about this side effect, even though they knew about the potential for harm for years before the lawsuits. Plaintiffs in multiple states sued fluoroquinolone makers for peripheral neuropathy from these antibiotics.
- Aortic dissection or aortic aneurysm. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics can lead to a tear or rupture of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. This condition requires emergency surgery, often open-heart. Many patients do not survive.
- Mental health issues. Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics are associated with adverse mental health consequences like delirium, memory impairment, disorientation, suicide, and other severe psychiatric issues.
- Blood sugar drops and coma. In 2018, the FDA issued a warning that these antibiotics can cause substantial and life-threatening decreases in blood sugar. The hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) can lead to coma or death. Older patients and diabetics who take medicine to control their blood sugar levels are at higher than average risk of this side effect.
The Levaquin lawsuits allege that the drug maker, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, knew about the side effects but failed to adequately warn patients who took the medicine to treat an infection. Janssen finally stopped making Levaquin in December of 2017 (although pharmacies can still sell their existing stock until 2020), but generic pharmaceutical companies still make the drug and sell it under the generic name levofloxacin.
The FDA issued multiple warnings about the many adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones, including Levaquin, over the years, but pharmaceutical companies continued to make the drugs.
Janssen’s Public Story
Many of the details of the settlements Janssen and Johnson & Johnson paid to people for the harm they suffered from Levaquin are unknown. Settlements can be private, with secrecy being one of the terms of the settlement agreement.
Janssen issued a public statement that did not admit any wrongdoing or danger of the drug Levaquin:
“The decision to discontinue LEVAQUIN was made due to the wide
availability of alternative treatment options, and our focus on developing
innovative medicines designed to address unmet patient needs.”
The FDA says that doctors should only prescribe fluoroquinolones like Levaquin when there is no viable alternative to treat an infection. These antibiotics now get prescribed primarily for severe infections like pneumonia, the plague, and exposure to anthrax.
What to Do if You Took Levaquin and Experienced an Adverse Reaction
Since Levaquin can cause such a wide range of problems, it can be difficult to know whether an adverse medical event you experienced was the result of taking the antibiotic. Side effects can happen as early as on the first dose, or as late as months after you stop taking the drug.
If you suffered a severe medical or psychiatric condition after taking antibiotics for an infection, check the pill bottles or pharmacy receipts to find out if the medication was a fluoroquinolone like Levaquin. If you cannot find a container or receipt, go ask the pharmacy to look up the prescription for you. Now that you know about the Levaquin lawsuit, reaching out to a medical malpractice lawyer from Pintas & Mullins.
If the antibiotic was Levaquin or another fluoroquinolone, and you experienced peripheral nerve damage, tendon injury, aortic dissection, aneurysm, blood sugar disturbances, coma, or mental health issues at some point after the first dose or after completing treatment, a Levaquin lawsuit lawyer might be able to help you pursue a claim for your losses in a defective drug or medication error case.
We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay upfront legal fees. Our fees come out of the settlement or award at the end. We do not get paid until you win.
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