What is Levaquin?
Levaquin in a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. More than 26 million Americans receive a prescription for a fluoroquinolone antibiotic each year. These drugs treat a wide variety of infections including bronchitis, sinusitis, urinary tract infections, skin infections, gastroenteritis, joint and bone infections, pneumonia, pelvic inflammatory disease, and typhoid fever. But, the drug is also linked to aortic aneurysms (bulges) or dissections (tears). Damage to the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, can lead to strokes, heart attacks and even death.1
There are six FDA-approved fluoroquinolones available in various brands and generic forms. This drug class makes up about 16.6 percent of the world market for antibiotics. The most popular antibiotics in the class are Levaquin, Ciprofloxacin, and Avelox.2
What are aortic aneurysms?
Two types of injuries that have been linked to fluoroquinolone use are aortic dissection (tears) and aortic aneurysm (rupture). These conditions are on the rise in the U.S., and about 15,000 Americans die each year from aneurysms alone.3 An aneurysm is an enlarged or bulging part of the aorta. Aneurysms can be silent killers. They often have no symptoms until they burst, causing excruciating pain and loss of consciousness. Once an aneurysm bursts, patients only have a 50 percent chance of survival. Treatment for both conditions requires medications and surgery as well as a lifetime of monitoring that can be costly.4 In many cases, aneurysms cause no symptoms at all. However, when they do present, symptoms may include:
- Tearing pain in the chest, abdomen, and/or middle of the back between the shoulder blades.
- Shortness of breath
- Cough (due to pressure on the lungs and airways)
- Difficulty swallowing (caused by pressure on the esophagus)
If an aneurysm ruptures, it can cause:
- Loss of consciousness
- Heart attack
How can fluoroquinolone antibiotic cause aortic aneurysms?
Scientists suspect that fluoroquinolones like Levaquin break down collagen in the body. Collagen is found in the tendons and also makes up the lining of the aorta. Two recent 2015 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)and The British Medical Journal (BMJ) revealed a connection between these powerful antibiotics and collagen damage that may lead to aortic dissections and aneurysms.5
According to the JAMA study conducted by Lee and colleagues, fluoroquinolones, including Levaquin, were associated with a two-fold increase in risk of dissection and aneurysm within 60 days of using the drug.6 Authors said, “clinicians should continue to be vigilant for the appearance of aortic aneurysm and dissection in high-risk patients treated with fluoroquinolones.”7 These high risk patients are often older than 70 years old, and females.8 Moreover, this study found that longer duration of fluoroquinolone therapy was associated with higher incidence of aortic aneurysm or dissection.9
The BMJ study found nearly a three-fold increase in the risk of aneurysm.10 For this reason, authors stated that these findings supported the Food and Drug Administration’s black box safety warning on these drugs.11 The reason this is significant is because this suggests that a medication contributing to tendon ruptures could also lead to aortic aneurysms becausefluoroquinolones break down collagen, which is found in the lining of the aorta.12
Authors of this study followed about 1.7 million patients and found one third of them received a prescription for a fluoroquinolone. They stated that “[r]educing unnecessary fluoroquinolone treatments or prolonged treatment courses might have possibly prevented more than 200 aortic aneurysms in this population.”13
Contact The Law Firm Of Perdue & Kidd
If you or a loved one has taken Levaquin and suffered from an aortic aneurysm, contact the lawyers of Perdue & Kidd. Our attorneys have experience representing clients throughout Texas and the country against major pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Our attorneys bring more than 100 years of combined experience that allows us to offer real hope to our clients who have been injured.
When you or a loved one has been injured by a drug, you need to take action to secure the compensation you need and that the responsible parties are held accountable for the harm done to you. The lawyers of Perdue & Kidd are skilled and capable of ensuring that your rights are respected. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 713-520-2500 or toll free at 800-520-1749, or simply contact us online.
All personal injury cases are taken on a contingent fee basis. Attorney fees are collected only if we secure compensation for you.
1See Drugwatch, Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Lawsuits, DRUGWATCH.COM,https://www.drugwatch.com/cipro-levaquin-avelox/lawsuits/, (last visited on April 27, 2016).
5See Lee et. al., “Risk of Aortic Dissection and Aortic Aneurysm in Patients Taking Oral Fluoroquinolone.” JAMA Internal Medicine, Vol. 175, No. 11, 1839-47 (Nov. 2015); see also Danemanet. al., “Fluoroquinolones and collagen associated severe adverse events: a longitudinal cohort study.” BMJ, Vol. 5, No. 11, 1-9 (Nov. 2015).
6Id. at 1844.
7Id. at 1845.
8Id. at 1844.
1SeeDanemanet. al., “Fluoroquinolones and collagen associated severe adverse events: a longitudinal cohort study.” BMJ, Vol. 5, No. 11, at 6 (Nov. 2015).
11Id. see also U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA.GOV, Information for Healthcare Professionals: Fluoroquinolone Antimicrobial Drugs [ciprofloxacin (marketed as Cipro and generic ciprofloxacin), ciprofloxacin extended-release (marketed as Cipro XR and Proquin XR), gemifloxacin (marketed as Factive), levofloxacin (marketed as Levaquin), moxifloxacin (marketed as Avelox), norfloxacin (marketed as Noroxin), and ofloxacin (marketed as Floxin)]https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm126085.htm, (last visited on April 29, 2016).
12SeeDanemanet. al., at 7.
13Id. at 6.