Levaquin (levofloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic used to kill common bacteria that cause lung infections, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Recently, this class of medications has been linked to a growing list of dangerous side effects, including peripheral neuropathy, aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm, and tendon injuries. These safety concerns have sparked thousands of Levaquin lawsuit filings by patients who claim that the drug’s manufacturers failed to provide doctors and patients with adequate warnings regarding its risks.
Levaquin Peripheral Neuropathy Litigation
Hundreds of patients have filed Levaquin lawsuits and other fluoroquinolone cases over peripheral neuropathy, a potentially debilitating form of nerve damage. Symptoms of the condition include:
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- Numbness and tingling in the feet or hands, which may gradually extend into the legs and arms
- Sharp, jabbing or burning pain in the extremities
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Lack of coordination, balance issues and falling
- Muscle weakness or paralysis of motor nerves
- Intolerance to heat
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Dizziness and light-headednes
Many of these claims have been centralized in a multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. Plaintiffs assert that the link between Levaquin and peripheral neuropathy was recognized as early as 2001, and accuse Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit of failing to adequately warn the public that use of the drug could lead to serious – and possibly permanent – nerve damage.
Fluoroquinolone labels have included mention of peripheral neuropathy since 2004. However, Levaquin plaintiffs claim that the information provided suggested that the side effect was rare and would subside once treatment with the drug was stopped. In August 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that fluoroquinolone peripheral neuropathy warnings be revised, so as to better reflect the possible rapid onset of the condition and the potential for permanent nerve damage.
Levaquin and Aortic Injuries
A growing number of Levaquin lawsuits have also been filed in U.S. Courts on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered life-threatening aortic injuries, including aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm, due to their use of the medication.
In October 2015, a study published JAMA Internal Medicine suggested that fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin were associated with an approximately 2-fold increase in the risk of aortic dissection and aneurysm within 60 days of exposure. Fluoroquinolones have been linked to collagen degradation, which could include collagen in the aortic wall. This occurrence could result in dissection of the aorta or an aortic aneurysm.
Either of these aortic complications can be life-threatening. Patients taking Levaquin should seek medical attention if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pain in the chest or upper back that that is sudden and severe, especially if it radiates to the neck or down the back,
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty speaking, loss of vision, weakness or paralysis of one side of the body.
- Weak pulse in one arm compared with the other
- A pulsating sensation in the abdomen
- Sensation of a “cold foot,” or a painful toe that is black and blue
- F ever or weight loss could signal an inflammatory aortic aneurysm
Levaquin Tendon Injury Litigation
The manufacturers of Levaquin have been sued by thousands of people who allegedly experienced Achilles tendon ruptures and other tendon injuries related to use of the antibiotic. In 2008, the FDA ordered that a Black Box Warning regarding the potential for serious tendon injuries be included on the labels of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone drugs. Patients most at risk for these side effects include those over age 60, kidney, heart, and lung transplant recipients, and patients undergoing concomitant steroid therapy.
Following the label update, more than 3,400 people filed a Levaquin lawsuit for tendon injuries. By May 2014, all but about 340 of those claims had been settled.
If you or a loved one has experienced peripheral neuropathy or aortic injuries after taking Levaquin you may be entitled to compensation. Please call 877-779-1414 and our Levaquin lawyers will help you determine if you qualify for a lawsuit.