North Carolina Fluoroquinolone Lawsuits

Fluoroquinolones are part of a family of antibacterial drugs that have been used widely as therapy for respiratory and urinary tract infections. They are used in such commonly prescribed medications such as Cipro, Levaquin,  and Avelox, among others. However, these powerful antibiotics can cause harmful and fatal side effects in some patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that fluoroquinolones may cause permanent nerve damage, tendon ruptures and increased risk of serious or fatal ruptures of main arteries. The risk of the nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy, occurs with fluoroquinolones that are taken by mouth or by injection, the FDA says.

The number of lawsuits from individuals harmed by the use of Fluoroquinolones continues to grow and many of these cases have been grouped into class action lawsuits. If you or someone you know has experienced an aortic rupture or developed peripheral neuropathy, tendinitis or a ruptured tendon after being prescribed a fluoroquinolone drug, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and medical expenses. To speak directly with a Hardison & Cochran lawyer about a potential legal claim, call or contact us online.

We review potential clients’ cases at no charge. This includes a thorough examination of the circumstances of your injury and an explanation of all of your legal options. Contact us today.

What Are Fluoroquinolone Drugs?

Fluoroquinolones are antibacterial drugs approved for the treatment or prevention of certain bacterial infections. They kill or stop the growth of bacteria that can cause illness. Fluoroquinolones have been prescribed for more than 30 years. Millions of patients have been prescribed fluoroquinolone drugs to take at home or received them as injections at a hospital.

The fluoroquinolones currently available in the United States include:

  • Ciprofloxacin (sold as Cetraxal, Cipro, Ciloxan) for urinary tract infection (UTI), gonorrhea, bladder inflammation, prostate inflammation, sinus infection, etc.
  • Gemifloxacin (Factive) for UTI, gonorrhea, bronchitis, pneumococcal pneumonia, etc.
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin) for UTI, chlamydia bacterial infection, a bacterial infection of the kidney, Legionnaires’ disease, bronchitis, etc.
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox, Vigamox, Moxeza) for a sinus infection, UTI, gonorrhea, bladder inflammation, bronchitis, a bacterial infection of the kidney, etc.
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin) for UTI, bladder inflammation, gonorrhea, prostate inflammation, staphylococcus bacterial infection (staph infection), etc.
  • Ofloxacin (Ocuflox, Floxin) for UTI, gonorrhea, chlamydia bacterial infection, prostate inflammation, bladder inflammation, etc.

FDA Safety Warning About Fluoroquinolone Drugs

A 2018 safety review by the FDA found that fluoroquinolone antibiotics can increase the risk of tears or ruptures in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Tears in the aorta, which are referred to as dissections, can cause uncontrolled bleeding and be fatal if not treated promptly.

The FDA warned that fluoroquinolones should not be prescribed to patients who are at an increased risk of an aortic dissection. Patients considered at increased risk include those with a medical history of blocked arteries, aortic aneurysms, high blood pressure, genetic disorders such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that cause blood vessel changes, as well as elderly patients.

The FDA based its new warning on a review of four medical studies that offered consistent evidence of a link between the use of fluoroquinolones and aortic dissection. Multiple studies have shown that high-risk patients taking fluoroquinolones had a doubled risk of an aortic dissection. The FDA said doctors should prescribe fluoroquinolones to high-risk patients only when other treatment options are not available. The FDA is requiring that a new warning be added to the prescribing information for fluoroquinolones.

Patients should report any unusual side effects from taking fluoroquinolones to the doctor immediately. Some symptoms of an aortic aneurysm will not appear until the aneurysm enlarges or bursts. Patients should go to the emergency room or call 911 for immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms such as sudden or constant pain in the stomach, chest or back.

Other Adverse Side Effects of Fluoroquinolones

In July 2018, the FDA strengthened the existing warnings that fluoroquinolones can cause decreases in blood sugar levels and mental health side effects including anxiety, nervousness, disorientation, memory impairment and disruption in mental abilities called delirium. The decreases in blood sugar levels can cause serious problems including coma, particularly in older patients.

When fluoroquinolones are taken either by mouth or by injection, they also may cause peripheral neuropathy, according to the FDA. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nervous system, i.e., the nerves in the arms, hands, legs and feet.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Change in sensation to light touch, pain or temperature
  • Painful cramps
  • Uncontrolled muscle twitching visible under the skin
  • Muscle loss
  • Bone degeneration
  • Changes in the skin, hair and nails.

You should contact your health care professional right away if you take a fluoroquinolone drug and experience any of the above symptoms. It may be necessary to stop taking the fluoroquinolone and take another drug, but you should never do so without first talking with your health care professional.

The FDA has known of the potential for developing peripheral neuropathy after taking fluoroquinolones for more than a decade. But it has continued to receive reports of adverse reactions after warnings were added to the fluoroquinolone drug labels in 2004. The potential rapid onset of adverse reactions and risk of permanent damage were not adequately described before the FDA issued a new warning in August 2013, the agency says.

Fluoroquinolones are also associated with an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, the FDA says. This risk is further increased in patients over age 60; in kidney, heart and lung transplant recipients; and in patients also undergoing steroid therapy.

Fluoroquinolones have also been linked to liver injury in very rare cases.

Legal Help for Injured Users of Fluoroquinolone Drugs

Manufacturers of antibiotics and other drugs have a duty to ensure their products are safe or to know of the danger of using the drugs and adequately warn consumers of the risk they pose.

Manufacturers of Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox and other fluoroquinolone drugs may be liable for failure to acknowledge the risk of peripheral neuropathy, tendinitis or other medical issues caused by the drugs they have manufactured and marketed. There have been several known Cipro and Levaquin lawsuits filed nationwide by Patients who have been harmed.  You may be due compensation for their pain, suffering and other losses.

The dangerous drug attorneys of Hardison & Cochran are reviewing potential claims pertaining to antibiotics containing fluoroquinolone drugs. We can assist and advise you on a potential claim if you or a loved one of yours has been injured.

Contact a Hardison & Cochran Attorney Today

Filing a fluoroquinolones lawsuit could be a viable option if you or a family member has developed peripheral neuropathy, tendinitis or other adverse medical issues after taking fluoroquinolone drugs as prescribed., You may be entitled to able to obtain compensation for your medical expenses, pain, suffering and other losses. Our attorneys can meet with you and help you determine your legal options.

Contact us for a free and confidential legal consultation as soon as possible.