DrugNews reported in May on the growing concern about permanent nerve damage caused by modern synthetic antibiotics. Now, a report shows that with the rising number of lawsuits from those patients affected, a judicial panel has created a multidistrict court to handle the volume.
The drugs Cipro, Avelox and Levaquin are all part of a class of man-made antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. Originally developed in the 1970s, quinolones have been updated several times in recent decades to maintain effectiveness.
Possible Overuse of Fluoroquinolones
While fluoroquinolones can be vital for fighting major infections like pneumonia, sepsis or hospital-born blood infections, critics say they are being overprescribed for much less dangerous conditions, like UTI and sinus congestion.
With the expanded use of the drugs comes the risk that their effectiveness will be diminished, and the greater likelihood that patients can suffer side effects usually reserved for only those in an emergency.
Nerve Damage Warnings for Avelox, Levaquin and Cipro
Peripheral neuropathy is a permanent condition caused by damage to the peripheral nerves. It can result in pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. The disorder is usually caused by injury, infection, genetic predisposition, diabetes, or exposure to toxins.
All three fluoroquinolones - Avelox, Levaquin and Cipro - contain warnings in their fine print that they may contribute to peripheral neuropathy. However, an FDA study determined that this wasn’t good enough to protect consumers of the risk, and the drug makers still haven’t updated their warnings.
So far, the agency has received nearly 1,000 reports of patients suffering nervous system problems or permanent nerve damage while taking one of the three.
Growing Antibiotic Lawsuits Alleging Peripheral Neuropathy
In May, lawyers representing around 20 patients across the country asked a federal judicial panel to create a centralized court where the cases could be handled together and with greater judicial efficiency. A multidistrict litigation court allows the sharing of evidence and saves the time of numerous separate actions. However, the makers of the drugs objected.
Now, lawyers estimate that as many as 100 of these lawsuits have surfaced, and continue to grow. If kept in separate districts, they could take years to litigate
JPMD Creates Fluoroquinolone MDL for Avelox, Cipro & Levaquin
On August 17, 2015, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that all federal cases alleging nerve damage from fluoroquinolone antibiotics will be transferred to Judge John R. Tunheim in the Minnesota federal district.
Judge Tunheim previously presided over numerous cases alleging tendon rupture from the drug Levaquin, and therefore is already familiar with the scientific and regulatory background of these drugs.
With the creation of the Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox MDL, lawyers can offer more efficient legal assistance for those injured, and seek a faster trial date or settlement.
Lawyers are offering help to investigate and file claims for those diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, and it costs nothing unless you receive an award.
For more on these lawsuits, the warnings for antibiotic nerve damage, or to speak with a lawyer, contact DrugNews today.
Packel, D. Bayer, Merck Hit With More Suits Over Avelox Nerve Damage. Law360 (July 30, 2015). Retrieved from www.law360.com
Hon, S. Vance. In Re: fluoroquinolone products liability litigation transfer order. JPML. (August 17, 2015). Retrieved from www.jpml.uscourts.gov
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