Fluoroquinolone drugs are a synthetic class of antibacterial drugs, or antibiotics, that were originally discovered over fifty years ago. They were first used to treat urinary tract infections but are now widely used to fight other infections and treat various illnesses, such as bronchitis, sinusitis, skin infections, and pneumonia.
Fluoroquinolones are the most widely used class of antibiotics in the U.S. About 26 million prescriptions are written each year. The safety of certain antibiotics, however, has been called into question recently after an important medical study.
These drugs are sold as liquids, tablets, and gels by a prescription from a doctor. The most common of these antibiotic drugs sold on the market are under these popular names:
|Avelox||Moxifloxacin||Tablets, IV Solution||Bayer|
|Levaquin||Levofloxacin||Tablets, Oral Solution, IV||Janssen|
Recently, a scientific and medical research team made an important discovery that links these drugs to peripheral neuropathy (PN), a painful and debilitating condition. Peripheral neuropathy refers to the conditions that result when nerves that carry messages to the brain and spinal cord from the rest of the body are damaged or diseased.
Damage to these nerves interrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body and can impair muscle movement, prevent normal sensation in the arms and legs, and cause pain. Unfortunately, many patients do not respond to treatment and live in daily pain and discomfort. The FDA first issued a warning in August 2013 about the risk of peripheral neuropathy posed by these drugs.
If you or a loved one has suffered peripheral neuropathy after taking this drug, a Fluoroquinolone lawyer at our firm can help you seek compensation. By working with a dedicated attorney, you can have the best shot at receiving full and fair compensation.
Factive (gemifloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic produced and distributed by Cornerstone Therapy. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003. It can be taken via injection, oral tablet, or topical solution, and is available in many different countries. The antibiotic works by inhibiting DNA synthesis in bacteria, as well as it being bactericidal.
Floxin (ofloxacin) is a discontinued fluoroquinolone antibiotic produced and distributed by Johnson & Johnson. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1990. Since being discontinued, the drug is manufactured by several different companies in generic forms.
Noroxin (norfloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic produced and distributed by Merck. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1986. It is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, some sexually transmitted diseases, and prostate gland infections (prostatitis).
Avelox (moxifloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic produced and distributed by Bayer AG. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999. It is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, including bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, anthrax and more.
Proposed Changes to Warning Labels
As more and more studies are published about the risks of fluoroquinolones and as more reports of side effects are submitted to the FDA, it becomes more and more likely that their warning labels will be modified. The increasing number of lawsuits against fluoroquinolone manufacturers by plaintiffs and their lawyers may have also been a factor in the panel meeting as well as its conclusion that the drugs’ risks need to be more widely known. There are currently several lawsuits pending against product manufacturers including Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Inc., Merck & Company, Inc., and Schering Corp. The lawsuits allege that the plaintiffs were injured as a result of taking fluoroquinolone products and that the manufacturers knew or should have known about the serious risks that were linked to these products but failed to notify the plaintiffs.
The November panel has recommended that the updated warning continue to warn of the risk of patients developing tendinitis, tendon rupture, and peripheral neuropathy but that the warning contains stronger wording and be easier to read.
Are Antibiotics Drugs Dangerous?
Although more effective than nearly any other antibiotic drug class, fluoroquinolones pose health risks that no other drug classes pose.
These dangers include a heightened risk of tendon damage, peripheral neuropathy, and aortic aneurysms. Depending on the dosage, time of use, and previous medical history of the patient, these side effects can dissipate within a few days of getting off a prescription or become permanent life-threatening complications that should be discussed with a Fluoroquinolone attorney.
Fluoroquinolone Complications & Side Effects
Because Cipro, Avelox, Levaquin, and other similar antibiotics are so powerful, they are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the country. However, that same potency exposes patients to possible serious side effects. In the process of killing bacteria cells, fluoroquinolones sometimes attack healthy tissues as well, and fragile areas, like the retina, are especially vulnerable. As a result, one prominent doctor said that prescribing this type of drug for common ailments like ear infections was like “trying to kill a fly with an atomic weapon.”
In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration warned that all the possible side-effects from fluoroquinolone use were not displayed prominently enough on the warning label. In addition to possible blindness, possible side effects include:
- Bronchitis and Sinusitis: If the lining of the lungs or breathing passages becomes irritated or swollen, breathing becomes difficult.
- Urinary Tract Infections: URIs are incredibly painful and not easy to treat, as anyone who has ever had one will attest.
- Bone and Joint Infections: Powerful antibiotics can seep into these areas, upsetting the delicate chemical balance and causing serious injury.
Victims in these cases are normally entitled to compensation for both their economic and non-economic damages that can be calculated with the help of a Fluoroquinolone attorney. Juries also award large amounts of punitive damages in many of these cases.
There have been several medical studies dating back to 2004 that suggest a link between these antibiotic medications and peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition consisting of damaged nerves throughout the body. Cases of this complication can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can arise within a couple of days of taking the medication. These symptoms include tingling feelings, weakness, burning sensations, and shooting pains throughout the body. In many cases, symptoms can last for months. In rare cases, these symptoms can persist permanently even after ceasing the medication.
Peripheral neuropathy involves damage to nerves in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. It is characterized by various degrees of stabbing and burning pain in addition to being unable to carry out simple tasks that one is required to do throughout the day.
Nerves in the hands and feet tend to be the first affected by numbness and tingling. Peripheral neuropathy can arise at any time while taking fluoroquinolones, including immediately after you start taking them, and can persist for months or years after. The condition can even become permanent.
Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that is characterized by the damage of peripheral nerves – those in your hands and feet. The pain associated with this condition is often described as stabbing, burning, or tingling.
Symptoms of developing peripheral neuropathy often include:
- Numbness, prickling, or tingling of feet, hands, legs, or arms.
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, or burning pain
- Touch sensitivity
- Deteriorating coordination
- Body weakness
- Heat intolerance
- Digestive problems
- Alterations in blood pressure
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy often develop within days of beginning your prescription and can last months after you have halted drug use, some cases have even reported permanent nerve damage.
However, peripheral neuropathy has only been reported in those who used a form of antibiotic taken by mouth or injection; those who took their drugs through eye or ear do not appear to be at risk of peripheral neuropathy.
The most dangerous side effect associated with the fluoroquinolone antibiotic drug class is the development of aortic aneurysms, which can be grounds for a lawsuit with the help of an attorney. As an aortic aneurysm develops, it weakens the walls of the aorta until the artery ruptures. This complication leads to extreme internal bleeding that oftentimes proves fatal due to its fast-acting nature.
An aortic aneurysm is a development of a bulge within the aorta that will stretch and tear the aortic wall if left untreated. With the aorta serving as the largest arty in the body, any issue plaguing it has the ability to wreak havoc on a victim’s health.
The walls of the aorta are designed to stretch and shrink as needed depending on blood flow. However, a bulging aneurysm keeps the aortic walls stretched out. With aortic walls unable to shrink back, they will weaken until they can no longer contain the bulge and rupture/tear.
An aortic aneurysm can take two forms, abdominal or thoracic. An abdominal aneurysm forms in the belly area while a thoracic aneurysm forms in the victim’s upper body.
Both types of aneurysms typically grow at a slow rate making them incredibly difficult to detect.
Due to the slow-developing nature of an aortic aneurysm, they usually do not exhibit any symptoms unique to the complication. This often leads to medical professionals being unaware of the danger their patients are being exposed to.
The most common symptoms often become present once an aneurysm has grown to an immense size or has ruptured – leaving little time for the afflicted to seek medical attention.
However, there have been reported instances where victims were able to detect the following as early warning signs of an aortic aneurysm:
- Pain in the chest, abdomen, or lower back
- Pulsating sensation in the abdomen
- Black or blue painful toe
- Weight loss
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Swallowing difficulty
In the event of an aortic aneurysm rupture, those afflicted will experience sudden severe pain, an extreme drop in blood pressure, and signs of shock. If these symptoms are identified it is vital that you seek medical attention without hesitation as an aortic aneurysm rupture is often fatal without the proper and immediate treatment.
Tendon damage can take the form of tendinitis or tendon rupture. Either of these side effects can severely limit one’s mobility and lead to surgery or extended recovery times in which the victim may miss work or accumulated large medical expenses.
Because of these prominent side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a Drug Safety Communication to notify consumers and medical professionals that these antibiotics should only be used in “those who do not have alternative treatment options.”
Why Are Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic Lawsuits Being Filed?
The development of fluoroquinolones began in 1962 with the discovery of nalidixic acid and the first instance of clinical use in 1967. Fluoroquinolones were initially not held in high regard but over the decades began to gain notoriety as powerful antibiotics.
However, while the strength of the antibiotic allows it to combat infections more effectively than any other drug class, that same strength often leads to the destruction of user health.
The last two decades have seen multiple brand-name antibiotic drugs introduced to the market. While these drugs are prescribed to over 20 million patients per year, they have been criticized for the health risks they carry.
More notably, the drug manufacturers have angered consumers for distributing these drugs without properly handling the possible health risks they present. This neglect has led to thousands of patients suffering from major side effects that have led to victims pursuing legal action.
Lawsuits have become the main way a victim can “win” justice from a pharmaceutical company.
Allegations listed on the lawsuits include drug manufacturers:
- Failing to warn the public of the risks of taking the antibiotics in question
- Failing to properly test fluoroquinolone antibiotics for the dangerous side-effects
- Withholding research data from the public about fluoroquinolone antibiotics dangers
- Selling fluoroquinolone antibiotics even though they knew it could be dangerous
- Manufacturing and selling an unsafe product
With studies being published in large numbers in addition to other FDA and legal news being released to the public with increasing frequency, there is a significant amount of information that potential lawsuit plaintiffs must know.
This includes the extent of side effects, lawsuit qualifications, and who can provide you with the best dangerous drug representation.
Most antibiotic victims report using Cipro and Levaquin. To reduce research time and allow these victims to move forward with their own lawsuit filing, we have consolidated most of the information you need to know on our respective Cipro and Levaquin pages.
However, contacting a lawyer is the most effective way to acquire the most important fluoroquinolone lawsuit information.
In late 2015, at the request of the major pharmaceutical companies listed in various Fluoroquinolone lawsuits including Bayer AG, a federal panel decided in favor of creating multidistrict litigation that would handle all fluoroquinolone lawsuits, covering multiple brands and manufacturers.
The multidistrict litigation went active in the U.S. District Court of the District of Minnesota under the supervision of Chief Justice John R. Tunheim.
After the MDL being active for a year, its case numbers have swelled from an initial 78 to approximately 383, with 40 more pending as of a court update on May 18, 2016.
The purpose of this MDL is to consolidate all fluoroquinolone lawsuits to streamline the process. Currently, the MDL is not handling active trials as it is currently awaiting further decisions regarding potential bellwether trials.
Are You Eligible To File a Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Lawsuit?
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are prescribed to over 20 million consumers per year for infections ranging from inconvenient to life-threatening. As more information detailing the true dangers of these antibiotics have been released to the public, consumers have been realizing in immense numbers that they may have suffered from a major side effect.
Those who believe they suffered from their antibiotic prescription need to meet the following criteria to be considered for lawsuit filing:
- Drug Usage Between 2002 And 2013
- Latency Of 90 Days Or Less
- User Diagnosed with Irreversible Peripheral Neuropathy Or Aortic Aneurysm
- User Had No Prior Peripheral Neuropathy Or Diabetic History
- Cipro Not Used For Serious Infection (MRSA, etc.)
- Cipro Was First Prescribed Choice
- User Had No Antibiotic Allergies
- No Established Confounders (HIV, Alcoholism, etc.)
Those who meet the aforementioned criteria will be able to work with a lawyer to create the strongest Fluoroquinolone lawsuit possible.
Eligibility is determined by executing a thorough investigation of a users medical records to determine where the drug use and health complication development falls into their overall medical history. These investigations are handled by medical professionals who report directly to the attorney as to whether medical records meet the necessary requirements for lawsuit filing.
In addition to the criteria list, a medical record examination also seeks to determine if the drug complication occurred within the necessary state deadlines.
Missing state deadlines is among the most common reason a dangerous drug victim is unable to pursue a compensatory settlement, so beginning your process immediately is very important.
Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic Lawsuit Compensation
With lawsuits currently pending further action in court, the exact amount or nature of victim compensation is currently unknown. However, in observing settlements for drugs of similar magnitude, it is likely that a future settlement will provide compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
With lawsuits not yet receiving settlement offers from the various companies named as defendants, it is recommended that all victims who believe they are eligible for a Fluoroquinolone lawsuit to begin pursuing their legal options immediately by calling a lawyer.
Retain a Fluoroquinolone Attorney for Help
If you were diagnosed with irreversible peripheral neuropathy or aortic aneurysm after taking a fluoroquinolone — such as Cipro, Levaquin, or Avelox — you may have a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer. Contact our Fluoroquinolone lawyers today to start working on your claim.