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Avelox®, also known as moxifloxacin, is a popular oral and IV antibiotic that’s often prescribed to treat bacterial infections of all types. In particular, it’s commonly used to treat sinus infections, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and bacterial skin infections. In eye drop form, it’s also often used to treat conjunctivitis (pink eye).
While the antibiotic has been commonly prescribed for years and successfully treats most infections, it hasn’t been until recent years that all of its side effects have been made public by either the manufacturers or through patient cases gaining media attention. Some of the side effects of Avelox® can be extremely dangerous and may lead to permanent nerve, skin, or liver damage and can increase the chances of a tendon rupture or aortic aneurysm.
What is Avelox and why is it potentially dangerous?
Avelox® (moxifloxacin) is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is prescribed for many purposes. The antibiotic is also sold under the brand names Avalox®, Avelon, Vigamox, and Moxeza. Most frequently, moxifloxacin is prescribed for chronic bronchitis, community-acquired pneumonia, acute sinus infections, intra-abdominal infections, various types of skin infections, and conjunctivitis in an ophthalmic solution (eye drops).
It belongs to the class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. This class also includes the popular drugs Levaquin® and Cipro®. Millions of Americans continue to be prescribed Avelox every year.
The most common side effects of Axelox® (moxifloxacin) include abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, anxiety, and itching. The drug can also cause other side effects which are significantly more serious. Some of these include:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Nerve damage
- Tendon injuries including tendon ruptures
- Conditions like myasthenia gravis which cause severe muscle weakness
- Internal bleeding
- Liver damage, including liver toxicity
- Joint stiffness/pain in the joints
- Skin reactions such as hives, rashes, welts, swelling, or painful, red lumps that may lead to serious skin conditions like Stevens-Johns Syndrome
- Difficulty breathing
- Aortic aneurysms (bulges)
What are the early symptoms?
There are numerous early symptoms of the side effects listed above. In particular, the most dangerous side effects to watch out for are those related to peripheral neuropathy, liver toxicity, tendon rupture, or an aortic aneurysm.
- Peripheral neuropathy occurs when irreversible nerve damage causes the patient to lose complete or partial feeling where those nerves are located. While there are treatments available to help reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, there is no way to completely reverse the nerve damage.
- Liver Toxicity occurs when the liver is damaged due to extreme hypersensitivity which is a rare side effect caused by fluoroquinolones like Avelox. Liver toxicity can lead to complete liver failure or even death. Early symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and liver tenderness.
- Tendon rupture occurs when the tendons between muscles are swollen and damaged to the point where the tendon tears or ruptures. Common areas of the body include the Achilles tendon of the heel, shoulder, hand, bicep, or thumb. Ruptures generally have to be repaired with surgery.
- An aortic aneurysm is a bulge that develops on the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body which carries blood to the brain and heart. An aneurysm can lead to a stroke, heart attack, or even death.
While taking Avelox®, you will want to stop taking the drug and call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Numbness in extremities, especially of the arms, legs, hands, or feet
- Burning pain when accompanied by inflammation in the extremities
- Joint stiffness to the point of limiting mobility
- Excessive bruising around the joints
- Muscle weakness and/or immobility
- Extreme sensitivity to temperature or touch
- Skin changes
- Fever or chills when accompanied by muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, and mouth sores
- Severe abdominal pain accompanied by ascites (fluid in the abdomen) or jaundice
What are my legal options?
In 2008, the European Medicines Agency recommended that use of the oral form of Avelox® be restricted due to the agency’s investigation regarding reports of severe cases of liver toxicity and adverse skin reactions. The United States has issued no such recommendation, but did require the FDA to improve the drug’s warning labels.
Despite the improved warnings, however, doctors across the United States continue to commonly prescribe Avelox® and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics without making their patients aware of the warnings and the common occurrence of serious side effects. With safer antibiotics on the market, doctors need to better inform patients of their options. The manufacturers of Avelox and other similar antibiotics should also be doing more to inform doctors about the occurrence of peripheral nerve damage, liver toxicity, adverse skin reactions, tendon rupture, and aortic complications in relation to taking Avelox®.
If you or someone you love has suffered from side effects which may have been caused by Avelox® (moxifloxacin) or any of its cousins in the fluoroquinolone class, your family has a right to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the drug. Pharmaceutical corporations need to prioritize the health of their customers over profit. Give Thomas Law Offices a call today to see if you may be eligible to file a case and potentially receive compensation. Louisville drug injury lawyer Tad Thomas will do everything he can to fight for your case.