The Fluoroquinolone injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center have helped thousands of clients recover compensation after suffering serious injury while taking one of these kinds of antibiotics. A Fluoroquinolone is a type of medication designed to help the body fight infections involving bacteria that do not respond to more traditional forms of antibiotics such as penicillin or amoxicillin. While 26 million prescriptions are written for these medicines every year in the United States, the public has not been properly informed regarding the risk of aortic dissection or aneurysm— both potentially fatal conditions that have been linked with this grade of medication.
The History of Fluoroquinolones
Fluoroquinolones have surpassed penicillin related antibiotics as the most widely used medications for the treatment of infection in the United States. They were discovered in 1960, brought to market in the early 1990s and are extremely effective in treating serious infections and can spell the difference between life and death. Patients need to be aware of the risks they face before accepting any form of treatment. In the case of Fluoroquinolone medications, these risks include the rupture of the largest blood vessel in the human body— the aorta. This massive artery feeds the heart itself and heart failure is highly likely when it becomes damaged.
Six medications are available in this drug group and over 16% of all antibiotic prescriptions are written from these six drugs, which include Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox. They were developed to treat a wide spectrum of infections which include skin infections, pneumonia, Typhoid Fever, gastroenteritis, sinus infections, salmonella poisoning, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, sexually transmitted disease, bone infections and more. As more forms of bacteria become resistant to penicillin, the sales of this drug class are slated to grow, which demand set to eclipse $7 billion before 2019.
Complications Linked to Fluoroquinolone Medications
There are a number of serious side effects patients have suffered while on these medicines in addition to aortic dissection and aneurysms. Some of these side effects include the following.
- Peripheral neuropathy— this condition affects the nervous system and may result in the inability of the brain to communicate with the affected area. It can result from serious injury to a nerve and the patient may feel sharp and shooting pains, loss of sensation, pins and needles or diminished motor function. The condition is permanent and can be debilitating.
- Hearing loss— Fluoroquinolone medications can cause permanent damage to the ears, often causing sudden or gradual hearing loss. Some patients have reported deafness.
- Vision loss— the loss of vision attributed to these medications can be devastating. Victims who lose their site will never be able to enjoy the same quality of living they once experienced and will need to cope and adjust to life without sight.
- Seizures— because these medications can interfere with the signals sent through the nerves, they can also cause a number of neurological complications, including the onset of epilepsy in those who were never previously at risk or diagnosed with the condition.
- Hallucinations— some studies have revealed that there are a number of mental illnesses tied to these medications. Hallucinating is a common side effect of the medication and the auditory and visual hallucinations can be debilitating.
- Damage to unborn children— it has been discovered that Fluoroquinolone medications are poisonous to unborn children and are not recommended for children or the elderly.
- Aortic dissection— this occurs when the aorta tears and bulges begin to form in the artery due to inflammation. If the blood vessel ruptures, the patient only has about a 50% chance of surviving.
- Aneurysms— an aneurysm is similar to dissection, but there are often no symptoms that indicate the patient is at risk until the blood vessel bursts. This can lower the rate of survival significantly.
In 2013, the FDA issued a warning for Fluoroquinolone medications, stating that they are used too often and that drug manufacturers have failed to properly warn the public about the risks and side effects commonly associated with their use. In the same statement, it was determined that the risk of permanent damage could not be calculated at that time.
The risk of peripheral neuropathy prompted thousands of people to file lawsuits against drug makers that produce these medications. It was later discovered that they also contribute to aortic dissection and aneurysms. This has opened the door for thousands of additional lawsuits as victims continue to come forward after a loved one has died or nearly died due to complications. While these medications have the potential to save lives, it has been determined that they are greatly overprescribed and the risks often outweigh the benefits.
Where other classes of medications would be equally effective, Fluoroquinolones should not be prescribed due to the proven risks that are associated with their use. Every person who receives a prescription should be aware of the potential side effects and the failure of drug manufacturers to properly warn the public makes them liable.
If you have been injured due to Fluoroquinolone use, contact the award winning Fluoroquinolone injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center to arrange a free consultation. We will review your case to determine the best path forward and let you know more about your legal options so that you can make an educated choice on how you wish to proceed. We only accept payment when we secure compensation on behalf of our clients, so our services will cost you nothing if we fail to do so.
Fluoroquinolone medications have been linked to a number of terrible and debilitating side effects, prompting thousands of victims to file lawsuits on the grounds that drug manufacturers failed to provide proper warnings to the public. After an initial battering by victims who alleged these medications were responsible for the development of peripheral neuropathy, it was also discovered that there was a clear link between Fluoroquinolone use and aortic dissection and aneurysms. If you or a loved one has been injured or died due to complications, the Fluoroquinolone injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center would like to hear your story.
The Most Popular Antibiotics in the United States
After making it to market in the 1990s, Fluoroquinolone drugs have become extremely popular for the treatment of a number of different infections. They are the most prescribed antibiotic class in the United States and it is estimated that this drug class will generate $7 billion for pharmaceutical companies by the year 2019. Their effectiveness in treating a wide spectrum of infections is the primary reason for their popularity, but arguments have surfaced that they are overprescribed and dangerous.
Whenever a physician is faced with the prospect of prescribing a medication or treatment option, he or she needs to perform a risk assessment to determine whether the benefits of the medication are worth the risk that patients will take on. These risks were not communicated to the public, resulting in numerous debilitating injuries and deaths from serious side effects.
Lawsuits Due to Peripheral Neuropathy Prompt FDA Response
By 2013, the FDA had ordered new black box label warnings to be placed on Fluoroquinolone medications such as Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox because of the risk of permanent nerve damage, which could result in debilitating loss of sensation, impaired motor function or the development of neurological disorders. Lawsuits brought against the drug makers revealed evidence that showed the companies were aware of these risks dating as far back as 1996.
It was recently discovered that there is a connection between the use of these medications and aortic dissection and aneurysm. These conditions impact the largest blood vessel in the body and once the aortic artery ruptures, victims have only about a 50% chance of surviving. The survival rate becomes much slimmer in the event of an aneurysm because there are no developing symptoms that could indicate a risk ahead of time.
Over 2,000 Lawsuits Filed Against Makers of Levaquin
Johnson & Johnson has faced over 2,000 lawsuits following the discovery that its Fluoroquinolone medication, Levaquin, has been linked to aortic dissection and aneurysms. Many of these cases have been settled out of court, but more victims surface every day. If this is an indication of a trend, it will not bode well for other drug manufacturers producing similar products.
Bayer is facing a mounting number of lawsuits over its medication, Avelox. News of these lawsuits has remained relatively quiet because the cases are currently still being handled at the state level. As the mass tort continues to grow, this is likely to change. Other medications that have been the subject of lawsuits include Cipro, Floxin, Proquin, Factive, Noroxin and Zagam.
Claims Made by Plaintiffs Include Failure to Warn and Aggressive Marketing Tactics
Since drug makers were well aware of the risks associated with their medications, the public has the right to respond by holding them accountable for any injuries that they have suffered. The primary argument being made against the makers of Fluoroquinolone medications is that the risks were never communicated so that patients could make educated decisions regarding whether those risks were worth the benefits. Victims claim that the labels offered confusing and misleading claims— stating that the medications were safe and that the instances of peripheral neuropathy were rare.
No warnings were ever included regarding the link to aortic dissection or aneurysm, prompting plaintiffs to allege that the drug companies purposefully covered this information up. Included in the charges against pharmaceutical companies are fraud, negligence and strict liability over unreasonable risks.
In one case heard in 2016 against Johnson & Johnson, five victims claimed that the FDA Commissioner colluded with her husband to inflate profits at Johnson & Johnson by covering up the links to aortic dissection.
Put Our Fluoroquinolone Lawyers to Work on Your Behalf
The award winning Fluoroquinolone injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center have extensive experience representing clients who have been injured due to medical liability. We have helped thousands of clients recover fair compensation for their injuries and are certain that we can do the same for you. If you have been injured due to complications linked to the use of Fluoroquinolone medications, we would like to invite you to review your case for free.
Contact us today to arrange your consultation with an expert drug liability lawyer so that we can review the details of your claim and let you know more about your legal options. If we are unable to secure damages on your behalf, you are assured that our services will cost you nothing at all.