Levaquin Lawsuit Updates: What Plaintiffs Can Expect

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Product Liability, Medications | 0 comments

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Levaquin, a widely prescribed antibiotic, has been the subject of many discussions and lawsuits.

Have you or a loved one experienced unexpected side effects after taking Levaquin? Did you know that Levaquin lawsuits have raised critical questions about pharmaceutical responsibility and patient safety?

These lawsuits have highlighted the importance of being informed about the medications we take and the risks involved.

Dive into the complexities of Levaquin lawsuits to understand why they have become a pivotal point for patients seeking justice and accountability in healthcare.

What is Levaquin? 

Levaquin (generic name: Levofloxacin), a type of fluoroquinolone antibiotic, is used to treat bacterial infections within the body. It’s employed to combat various bacterial infections and is also prescribed for those exposed to anthrax or specific forms of plague.

Who makes Levaquin? Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, produces Levaquin. The FDA approved Levaquin in 1999. Vistakon Pharmaceuticals produces generic levofloxacin.

Why was Levaquin Discontinued?

In December 2017, Janssen Pharmaceutical Company ceased the manufacturing of Levaquin, encompassing both the oral and IV forms, due to safety concerns and the increasing risk of antibiotic resistance.

Extensive use of Levaquin has increased the number of bacteria resistant to fluoroquinolones, though the drug was developed to treat bacteria that are resistant to other antibiotics.

Efforts to limit misuse, including initiatives and changes in drug labeling, have been implemented. Despite these, prescriptions of fluoroquinolones have continued to rise, potentially causing further resistance.

Levaquin, a highly profitable antibiotic, has generated significant revenue and has seen its use grow over time. Doctors often prescribe it for conditions such as bronchitis, considering it one of the best oral or injectable antibiotics available.

The effectiveness of these drugs for many patients is not in question. However, they are associated with severe side effects that the manufacturers allegedly downplayed.

Is there a lawsuit against Levaquin? Thousands of legal actions have been initiated against the manufacturers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox, with plaintiffs asserting that the disclosures regarding adverse effects were insufficient.

Side Effects of Levaquin

Common Levaquin side effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty sleeping, rash, and itching. Levaquin can cause severe side effects, such as:

  • Tendonitis
  • Chronic prostate infection
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Vision problems
  • Low blood sugar
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Skin infection
  • Muscle aches
  • Acute bacterial sinusitis
  • Liver damage
  • Septicemic and pneumonic plague

If you are injured by Levaquin, it’s important to be aware of the risks. Most tendon rupture cases linked to its use involve the Achilles tendon. However, tears can also occur in other tendons. These include tendons in the shoulder (rotator cuff), hands and thumb.

Levaquin and Aortic Aneurysms

The use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including Levaquin, has been linked to an increased risk of developing aortic aneurysms, a serious condition that leads to severe internal bleeding.

A study published in November 2015 in JAMA Internal Medicine indicated that antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones could increase the risk of developing aortic aneurysm. An aortic aneurysm is a dangerous bulge in the aorta, which is the body’s main artery, while a dissection involves a tear in the aortic wall.

In the study, 1,477 hospitalized patients with aortic aneurysms or dissections were compared with 147,700 control subjects. Adjustments made for comparable baseline characteristics showed that those currently taking fluoroquinolones had a more than doubled risk for these conditions.

The risk remained elevated, though to a lesser extent, for past users of these antibiotics, with a relative risk (RR) of 1.48 and a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.18-1.86. Despite the rarity of such incidents, the findings suggest doctors should consider the potential risk when prescribing fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

Aortic Aneurysms Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the area where the aneurysm is expanding
  • Difficulty while swallowing
  • Severe chest or back pain
  • Experiencing dizziness
  • Vision loss
  • Increased or rapid heartbeat
  • Inflammation in the arms, neck, or face

Levaquin aortic aneurysm lawsuits are the consequence of the drug’s ability to increase the risk of aneurysm of the aorta. This condition could be fatal if the bulge ruptures or dissects, meaning that the artery splits or tears.

Levaquin and Peripheral Neuropathy

The FDA released a warning in August 2013, highlighting that fluoroquinolone antibiotics could increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy. This condition arises from damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.

The FDA noted that some patients experienced symptoms that persisted for over a year, even after they stopped taking the antibiotic. Additionally, there were instances where patients remained on fluoroquinolone treatment even after exhibiting symptoms of nerve damage.

The increase in Levaquin peripheral neuropathy lawsuit filings indicates a growing concern over the drug’s side effects and the alleged failure of manufacturers to provide adequate warnings.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Tingling or stabbing sensation
  • Pain to the hands, arms, and legs

levaquin-lawsuit-picture-shows-levaquin-side effects

Black Box Warning on Levaquin

The initial warning for Levaquin was issued in 2008 by the FDA, concerning the risk of nerve damage, tendon ruptures, and tendinitis. The FDA has issued a critical alert, known as a black box warning, advising consumers to use the medication only as a last resort when no other alternatives are available.

In May 2016, the FDA announced that fluoroquinolone antibiotic labels would be updated to include new warnings about a higher risk of muscle and nerve damage. This warning was in response to a rising number of patient complaints.

The FDA suggests revising the boxed warning to alert patients that the risks of these medications may surpass their benefits for those with sinusitis, bronchitis, and urinary tract infections. According to the FDA, the side effects include damage to muscles, joints, tendons, and the central nervous system.

The FDA has validated numerous reported instances of tendon rupture, tendinitis, and related injuries. Among those affected by tendon injuries, a notable proportion experience harm to the Achilles tendon (situated in the heel of the foot). However, Levaquin is also associated with cases of ruptures in other areas such as the rotator cuff (shoulder), biceps, hands, and thumb.

The FDA is intensifying warnings about fluoroquinolone antibiotics, highlighting that they may lead to substantial drops in blood sugar and specific mental health side effects. These decreases in blood sugar can cause severe issues, including coma, especially in elderly individuals and diabetic patients who are on medications to lower blood sugar levels.

A more urgent warning emerged from the FDA at the end of 2018. This warning highlighted that the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Levaquin, could lead to increased instances of rare but severe complications, such as tears or ruptures in the body’s main artery, the aorta. These vascular events, known as aortic dissections or ruptures of an aortic aneurysm, may result in critical bleeding or death.

Levofloxacin Lawsuit Settlements

In 2010, Johnson & Johnson reached a settlement in its initial significant levaquin lawsuit, resulting in a $1.8 million award to the plaintiff for tendon injury. That year, the company resolved 845 similar cases.

However, many Levaquin-related legal claims remain unresolved, with the majority linked to severe adverse effects such as Stevens – Johnson syndrome (SJS), a potentially fatal skin condition, and peripheral neuropathy.

Those filing Levaquin lawsuits allege that they used Levaquin according to their doctor’s prescription and followed the medication’s labeling warnings. Nevertheless, they argue that the provided warnings did not adequately communicate the potential frequency and severity of side effects.

Eligibility to File Levaquin Lawsuits

If you have experienced any adverse effects after taking Levaquin, you may be entitled to pursue legal action against the manufacturer. Medical records are crucial, which can substantiate the side effects linked to the medication.

Consulting with an experienced attorney is essential, as they can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your case and guide you through your legal options to seek the compensation you deserve.

To wrap things up,

The Levaquin lawsuits have emphasized the importance of drug companies fully disclosing the risks associated with their medications. The discontinuation of Levaquin, along with its legal repercussions, brings to the forefront the vital need to protect people while also providing beneficial treatments.

Although Levaquin’s production has ceased, the conversation it started on medication risks persists, reminding us to always weigh the benefits of a drug against its dangers. As this issue continues to evolve, it encourages the public and medical professionals to remain informed about drug safety.

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