July 13, 2016 — Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin were responsible for more persistent side effects that became long-term health issues than any other drug on the market, according to a new report.
The QuarterWatch (PDF) report from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) found 855 reports last year, of which 57% involved Levaquin and 43% involved Cipro.
Earlier this year, the FDA said fluoroquinolone antibiotics should not be used for sinusitis, bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) if another antibiotic will work.
In May, the FDA also issued a Safety Communication to warn about the risk of peripheral neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage. Other severe side effects can include damage to the tendons, muscle pain, hallucinations, confusion, and more.
Warnings about peripheral neuropathy have been on the label for Levaquin and Cipro since 2004. The FDA was concerned those warnings did not emphasize the rapid onset of symptoms or the risk of permanent disability.
Approximately 400 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer HealthCare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals by people who experienced nerve damage after taking antibiotics. All of these lawsuits accuse drug-makers of downplaying the risk.
The lawsuits are centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2642) in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota under Judge John R. Tunheim.