Protecting Victims Injured by Dangerous Drugs
Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox, frequently used types of and antibiotic known as fluoroquinolone, are commonly used to treat serious bacterial infections like ones acquired while at a hospital or ones that resist older types of antibiotics. However, the FDA issued a black box warning about potential risks of fluoroquinolones like Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox in 2008. The risks included Achilles tendon ruptures and tendon damage, and a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal in October of 2015 found that people who use fluoroquinolones are at an increased risk of suffering from an aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections.
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- Aortic dissections are serious, life-threatening conditions caused when the aorta’s inner layer, the large blood vessel that branches off from the heart, tears. Blood then flows through this tear, and can cause the middle and inner layers of the aorta to dissect (separate).
- Aortic aneurysms can lead to serious, life-threatening conditions, and can occur when an abnormal bulge forms in the wall of the aorta. In many cases this bulge will form slowly; if caught early on, a change in lifestyle, like quitting smoking, may be enough to prevent the aneurysm from bursting, but larger ones likely require surgery. However, aneurysms caused by fluoroquinolones grow far more rapidly, and in some cases develop and burst within 30 days. Aortic aneurysms are considered a catastrophic event since half of all people die before they can reach a hospital, and half of the people that do make it die while there.
The aorta is primarily made up of Type I and Type III collagen, just like the Achilles tendon. The first study published linking the use of fluoroquinolones to ruptured Achilles tendons came out in 1992, and another 171 studies came out studying the connection before the FDA issued their black box warning. Medical professionals believe that, because the aorta is made up of basically the same material, the connection should have been made years ago and included in FDA warnings.
Aortic aneurysms develop as the collagen in the wall of the aorta is degraded by enzymes, gradually weakening it until it can no longer handle the stress flowing blood puts on it, causing it to burst. In most cases, the wall of the aorta weakens at a much slower pace. When fluoroquinolones are introduced, medical professionals have discovered that the condition develops at a much more rapid pace, greatly decreasing the chance of identifying it early enough to save the patient’s life.
Contact BCH Today
At the law firm of Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, we believe that the major pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for their actions, especially when they lead to severe health complications and even death. If you or a loved one have experienced side effects related to Levaquin or any other fluoroquinolone, contact us today for a free case consultation, or give us a call at (888) 367-7160 to set up a meeting with one of our attorneys.