Massachusetts Consumers Should Take Care If Using Certain Antibiotics–FDA Warns of Tendon Trouble

A commonly prescribed class of antibiotics have been issued the strongest available warning by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to the risk of potentially debilitating personal injury. Levaquin (levofloxicin) and Cipro (ciprofloxacin) are in the class of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, and are used to treat illnesses like sinus infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, kidney infections and several types of skin infections. People using Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones are at increased risk for tendonitis and tendon ruptures, especially those over 50 years of age, those taking steroids, or people that have had a lung, kidney or heart transplant.  Tendonitis and tendon ruptures have also been reported in people without elevated risk factors, and can even occur months after discontinuing the drug.

The most commonly reported tendon injuries have occured in the Achilles tendon, but ruptures have also occurred in the rotator cuff, hand, and tendons in other parts of the body. Tendon injuries can be extremely painful, are potentially debilitating, and may require surgery to correct. People using fluoroquinolones should seek medical attention if they have bruising in the tendon area after a possible injury, hear or feel a pop or snap, are unable to put weight on an injured area, or have other reason to believe that a tendon is not functioning properly. 

Flouroquinolones have also been linked to other serious side effects and personal injuries, such as renal failure, and users have reported side effects that feel like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  Some people experience an alleviation of side effects shortly after stopping use of the antibiotic.  Others experience long-term or even permanent side effects.  While sometimes the use of fluoroquinolones cannot be avoided, patients should inquire into alternative medications. 

To report an adverse effect resulting from the use of Levaquin or another fluoroquinolone antibiotic, call the FDA MedWatch program at 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit the MedWatch website.

For assistance with a case involving a personal injury or wrongful death as the result of an adverse reaction to Levaquin or another medication, please contact the Boston attorneys of Breakstone, White and Gluck.  Call 800-379-1244 for a free consulation with an experienced product liability attorney.

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