Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics



What are FLQs?

Fluoroquinolones (Cipro, Levaquin, Diflucan and Avelox for example – also known as “FLQs”) are some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in the United States.  These drugs are designed to treat serious infections such as bacterial infections, antibiotic resistant infections, and hospital acquired infections. Unfortunately, in the United States these drugs are often inappropriately prescribed for common ailments such as sinusitis, bronchitis, earaches and other garden variety problems that would likely resolve on their own, or that could be caused by a virus that is not affected by an antibiotic at all.  Although FLQs are commonly prescribed in the United States, in other countries like the United Kingdom they are heavily restricted and are only used in cases of extreme infection.

In 2013 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the manufactures of FLQs to strengthen their warning labels to include clear warnings of the risk of nerve damage (also known as “peripheral neropathy”) associated with the use of these drugs. Peripheral Neuropathy is a debilitating form of nerve damage that causes intense pain and burning in patients’ extremities like the arms and legs. The FDA’s requirement was in response to recent studies showing that a patient’s use of fluoroquinolones can double the patient’s risk of developing peripheral neuropathy and can exponentially increase a patient’s risk of developing an aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection or aortic rupture.

FLQ Litigation

In 2015, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created MDL No. 2642.  All of the Plaintiffs in MDL claim that they developed peripheral neuropathy as a result of taking Defendants’ FLQ.  The Plaintiffs claim that defendants’ warnings about this alleged side effect were inadequate. Based on a number of factors, the Judicial Panel determined that the District of Minnesota was an appropriate forum in which the litigation could proceed. All Fluoroquinolone Neuropathy cases filed in federal court have been ordered transferred to the District of Minnesota, and assigned to the Honorable John R. Tunheim as a part of MDL No. 2642.

Judge Tunheim is coordinating discovery and other pretrial matters in these cases. Subsequent Fluoroquinolone Neuropathy cases filed in Federal Court will ordinarily be transferred to the District of Minnesota and become part of MDL No. 2642 as “tag along” cases. When discovery and other pretrial matters have been concluded, the cases that constitute MDL No. 2642, unless otherwise resolved, will be transferred back to the districts in which they were originally filed for trial or other proceedings.

Limited discovery has been conducted in the MDL to date, but the Defendants were successful in achieving the dismissal of two lawsuits (out of more than 700) in the MDL based on those two Plaintiffs’ state statute of repose (Texas).

The drug and device attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates are currently investigating lawsuits regarding the connection between FLQs and peripheral neuropathy and/or aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection or aortic rupture.

If you suffered a debilitating injury to your aortic valve after taking an FLQ, or if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy after extended exposure to an FLQ, contact Franklin D. Azar & Associates for a free case review.