Note: Thomas Law Offices is no longer accepting these cases.
There are many side effects and risks associated with taking Levaquin as detailed here. The most serious side effects that can cause permanent damage or require surgery include tendon injuries, peripheral neuropathy, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Detailed information can be found below about each of these three side effects, including symptom information, treatment options and any relevant history concerning FDA regulations and changes.
Levaquin may cause swelling or tearing of tendons. This tends to happen most commonly in the Achilles tendon area of the heel, but can also happen in other areas such as the rotator cuff (shoulder), hand, bicep or thumb. This side effect may occur while taking Levaquin or up to several months after you stop taking the drug.
Early side effects include tendon pain, swelling, inflammation, tenderness, stiffness, bruising or snapping/popping noises. If you’re unable to move the affected area or bear weight on that joint, this could also be an early symptom of a tendon injury. These side effects are more likely to occur if you’re over 60 years old, take steroid medications (corticosteroids in particular) or have had an organ transplant such as a lung, kidney or heart.
If left untreated, damage to tendons can eventually cause a rupture. A ruptured tendon usually needs surgery to be repaired.
While all fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause tendon ruptures, Levaquin is linked to more ruptures than any other antibiotic. In 2008, the FDA’s database showed that 61% of all tendon ruptures were tied to Levaquin specifically. It was after this information was made public that the FDA directed Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil—the manufactures of Levaquin—to add a Black Box warning to the label of Levaquin. The Black Box warning is the most serious safety alert the FDA issues.
One of the most serious possible Levaquin side effects is peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that causes interference between brain signals and the peripheral nerves found in the arms and legs. Commonly referred to as diabetic neuropathy due to diabetes being the most common risk factor, early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, burning or difficulty feeling sensations and temperature changes in the arms and legs.
While peripheral neuropathy symptoms can usually be treated to some degree, there is no way to perform a 100% reversal for neuropathy. Surgical methods can sometimes aid in repairing nerve endings, but surgery isn’t an option for all patients.
Cases of peripheral neuropathy were tied to Levaquin as early as in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2004 that the FDA started requiring Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil to place warnings on Levaquin labels noting the serious risk factors associated with peripheral neuropathy. In 2013, the FDA published an update that emphasized the fact that the associated neuropathy could occur rapidly and cause permanent damage.
Recent Updates and Studies:
According to a recent study held in 2015, it was found that diabetic patients who are placed on Levaquin may have difficulties maintaining normal blood sugar levels even while on medication for diabetes. This links back to a study published in 2014 that found fluoroquinolone antibiotics can double a patient’s chance to develop neuropathy.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrosis (TEN) are serious skin conditions that are life-threatening and associated with severe reactions to Levaquin. Both conditions show mild, early symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, mouth sores, malaise and stinging eyes.
Patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome and TEN develop severe blisters on their mucous membranes, specifically in the mouth, eyes and vagina. In addition, patients with TEN can also suffer from layers of epidermis that peel away. The mortality rate for patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome is between 25-80%. In order to save the life of a person suffering with either condition, treatment involves intravenous antibiotics, pain medication and skin grafts in especially severe cases.
If you or a loved one has used Levaquin and has suffered/is suffering from any of the above injuries and ailments, you may be eligible to file a Levaquin lawsuit against the manufacturers of the drug. Thomas Law Offices is currently offering free consultations to anyone looking to open up a case. We’re also available to answer any questions you may have.
Contact the Thomas Law Offices to ensure that your rights are protected and the reprehensible companies that have harmed you are held accountable. Do not delay. If you miss the statute of limitations regarding your case, you may unknowingly forfeit your right to seek compensation.