Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, widely popular because they treat a broad spectrum of diseases caused by bacteria, may increase the risk for life-threatening aortic aneurysm, according to MedPage Today, a publication for medical professionals.
An aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of the aorta to greater than 1.5 times its normal size and poses an increased risk of an aortic rupture, which results in massive internal bleeding, shock and death, unless immediately treated.
“The incidence of aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm in the U.S. has risen over the last several decades, with an estimated 15,000 Americans dying each year from aortic aneurysm alone,” MedPage Today reports, citing research conducted in a Taiwanese study of 1,477 patients hospitalized for aortic aneurysm or dissection from 2000 through 2011.
Researchers found that adults who had recently taken a fluoroquinolone antibiotic had double the risk for aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection. The risk is posed with both current and past use of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.
Fluoroquinolones include the antibiotics levofloxacin (Levaquin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ciprofloxacin extended-release tablets, moxifloxacin (Avelox), ofloxacin (Floxin) and gemifloxacin (Factive). These antibiotics have been named in dozens of drug injury lawsuits accusing drug manufacturers of failing to warn consumers and doctors about their risks.
The website Flouoroquinolone Toxicity Research explains that the medications “cause aortic aneurysm by disrupting the body’s collagen production, the same reason why tendon rupture more than doubles with the use of these drugs, and why Levaquin for dogs makes them lame by damaging their joints.”
Collagen, the site notes, is an “essential protein” needed in tendons, ligaments, the retinas of the eyes and arteries.
FDA Warnings About Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics
Fluoroquinolones kill or stop the growth of bacteria and are highly effective in treating serious bacterial infections. But these antibiotics have been plagued with repeated warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about the debilitating, and sometimes fatal, side effects.
- In July 2008 the FDA first added a Boxed Warning warning of the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. Fewer than three years later, the agency added to the Boxed Warning the risk of worsening symptoms for those with myasthenia gravis.
- In August 2013, the FDA required labels to be updated to describe the potential for irreversible peripheral neuropathy (serious nerve damage).
- And in July 2016, the FDA added yet another safety label change, this one to enhance earlier warnings and to advise that fluoroquinolones should be limited to patients with serious bacterial infections who have no alternative treatment options, such as anthrax and certain pneumonias.
For patients with things like acute bacterial sinusitis, acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis and uncomplicated urinary tract infections, the risk of fluoroquinolone antibiotics outweighs the benefits, according to the FDA.
“An FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluroquinolones are associated with disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system,” according to the FDA. “These side effects can occur hours to weeks after exposure to fluoroquinolones and may potentially be permanent.”
Despite the risks, U.S. healthcare providers wrote more than 26 million prescriptions for fluroquinolones in 2011, according to the Washington Post, accounting for 11 percent of all prescriptions written that year.
If you suffered an adverse side effect after taking an antibiotic or other type of medication, you may be eligible to file a drug injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries. Fill out the form on this page now for a FREE case evaluation.