Levaquin (levofloxacin) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical’s subsidiary. It is indicated to treat a number of bacterial infections in adults, including lung infections, sinus infections, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Levaquin is best known for treating bacterial infections that cause:

  • bronchitis
  • pneumonia
  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhea
  • skin infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • infections of the prostate

How Levaquin Works

Levaquin belongs to the class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. Fluoroquinolones fight bacterial infections in the body by stopping the production of essential proteins needed by the bacteria to survive. Because Levaquin is so potent, it may wipe out good bacteria along with the bad. For instance, Levaquin may kill good bacteria, also known as “normal flora” in the digestive track. This could allow yeast or other bacteria to grow out of control, causing yeast infection, upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. To help avoid this problem, doctors recommend taking Levaquin with lots of water.

Levaquin Side Effects

Levaquin is also known to adversely affect the central nervous system, causing drowsiness, dizziness, irritability, insomnia, restlessness and headaches. Additionally, Levaquin can weaken cartilage and cause joint damage. In rare cases, Levaquin may also cause hallucinations, seizures, and the life-threatening skin condition known as toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN).

Over the years, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered a number of label updates for Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics:

  • Tendon Injuries: In 2008, a Black Box Warning was added to the labels of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones about the potential for serious tendon injuries, including ruptures of the Achilles tendon. Patients most at risk for these painful side effects include those over age 60, kidney, heart, and lung transplant recipients, and patients undergoing concomitant steroid therapy.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy as a potential side effect was first noted on fluoroquinolone labels in 2004. However, the FDA ordered stronger warnings in August 2013, after the agency determined that the labels did not adequately describe the possible rapid onset of the condition, as well as the potential for permanent nerve damage.
  • Permanent, Disabling Side Effects: In May 2015, the FDA announced that the Black Box Warning included on the labels for Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones would be updated to state that the drugs should not be used for sinus infections, bronchitis and simple urinary tract infections when other options are available. The agency acted after a review confirmed that fluoroquinolones intended for systemic use are associated with serious and potentially disabling complications involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system. These side effects can occur together, and they may be permanent.

Recent studies have also linked fluoroquinolones like Levaquin to a serious eye injury called retinal detachment, and to a risk of aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection.

Levaquin Injury Lawyers

Adverse reactions to antibiotics that treat bacterial infections, such as Levaquin, are responsible for more than 140,000 emergency rooms visits each year. If you or a loved one took Levaquin and experienced an adverse Levaquin side effect, including peripheral neuropathy, an aortic aneurysm or an aortic dissection, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Published November 17, 2011 by