Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

Fluoroquinolones (FLQs) are a class of antibiotics used to treat serious infections. Although these drugs are chemically similar, each of these drugs is FDA approved to treat different types of bacterial infection, such as respiratory infections, sinus infections and urinary tract infections. The most widely prescribed FLQs are Avelox®, Cipro® and Levaquin®. Some of the other drugs in this class are Factive®, Floxin®, Maxaquin®, Noroxin®, Proquin XR®, and Zagam®. Despite the fact that these drugs have been prescribed for many years, problems associated with these drugs have recently come to light.

FLQ’s Linked to Peripheral Neuropathy

In August 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required the manufacturers of FLQs to update their warning labels to include warnings about the risk of development of permanent nerve damage, or peripheral neuropathy, in FLQ users. Peripheral Neuropathy is a painful and debilitating condition in which the nerves are damaged and cannot properly communicate with the brain. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include: pain, burning sensation, tingling, numbness and/or weakness or increased sensitivity to touch, pain, heat and cold. Peripheral neuropathy typically occurs in patients’ arms and legs.

FLQ’s Linked to Aortic Dissection and Aneurysm

The aorta is the major artery that carries blood away from the heart for distribution throughout the body. An aortic dissection occurs when a tear forms in the wall of the aorta. Depending on the severity of the tear, aortic dissection can be debilitating or even deadly. An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulging or enlargement of the aorta. If the bulge is not identified and corrected promptly, the aortic wall may burst and the patient can experience hemorrhaging (severe bleeding) which is often fatal. Several studies have recently come to light that may show a relationship between FLQ use and damage to collagen in the body. According to these studies, type 1 and type 2 collagen constitute most of the collagen in the aorta and the researchers noted, “Diseases of the aorta, including aortic aneurysms and dissections, are associated with alterations in collagen content, concentrations, and structure.” The authors also found over a twofold increased hazard of aortic aneurysm in patients taking FLQs when compared to patients not on these drugs. FLQ use has also been linked to tendon ruptures, and tendons are also made of collagen. Thus, these researchers believe that the effect of FLQ use on the body’s collagen may be responsible for the increased frequency of aortic aneurism and aortic dissection in FLQ users.

If you or a loved one has taken an FLQ and developed peripheral neuropathy, aortic dissection, or aortic aneurysm, Franklin D. Azar and Associates’ experienced drug and device attorneys can help. Call us now for a free consultation.