A class of antibiotics relied on for years for serious infections are being overused, says a consumer group advocating for tougher warnings from the FDA. And now, with numerous cases surfacing of patients suffering nerve damage, some are filing lawsuits against the drug makers.
Fluoroquinolones are synthetic antibiotics designed to be used in cases of serious infection. The precursor to these, quinolones, have been in use since the late 1970s. Since then, they have undergone at least four generational evolutions to maintain effectiveness and name brand protection against generics.
The first versions of quinolones is hardly used in any medical setting today. One has been identified as a carcinogen. Many of the second, third and fourth generations have been pulled from the market due to their strong toxic effects.
These days, the most popular third- and fourth-generation fluoroquinolones are Avelox, Cipro and Levaquin.
For those who develop infections such as pneumonia, sepsis or blood infections in hospitals, these antibiotics can be the difference between life and death.
However, they have increasingly been prescribed by doctors for much less severe conditions, like UTI and sinus congestion.
It is in these cases that the drugs can have dire results, say critics.
The FDA has received nearly 1,000 adverse event reports of patients suffering permanent nerve damage or issues related to the central nervous system.
While the warning labels of these drugs mentions peripheral neuropathy, a study commissioned by the FDA found that that wasn’t enough to properly warn consumers of risks of permanent nerve damage.
And while the agency issued a consumer warning to this effect in late 2014, drug makers still haven’t added more detailed information to the product labels to inform doctors and patients of the risks of nerve damage.
Many patients have reported symptoms including trouble breathing, stiff and painful joints, loss of ambulation, dizziness, panic and fatigue.
Now, with lawyers helping those injured file lawsuits, and the prospect of compensation on the way, word is growing among victims. On May 19th, a federal commission heard that over 24 cases have already been filed around the country, and they are considering forming a special centralized court to handle the volume.
Lawyers say patients who took Levaquin, Cipro, Noroxin, Avelox or Factive and suffered nerve damage may qualify for compensation.
DrugNews will continue to track the developments of these antibiotic warnings, and can connect anyone affected with a qualified lawyer. Contact us for more information.
Harris Martin Legal News. Plaintiffs in Fluoroquinolone Nerve Damage Cases Ask JPML to Create MDL Docket in Illinois. (May 21, 2015). Retrieved from http://harrismartin.com/article/19513/plaintiffs-in-fluoroquinolone-nerve-damage-cases-ask-jpml-to-create-mdl-docket-in-illinois/
Lee, M. Critics demand stronger warnings for potent antibiotics. USA Today. (September 17, 2014). Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/17/levaquin-antibiotic-side-effects/15767249/
Last summer, the Department of Justice unveiled the details of an ongoing lawsuit and resulting settlement against industrial giant 3M, claiming the company had furnished defective combat earplugs to millions of U.S. troops serving around the world.