Avelox may triple the risk of aortic aneurysms, according to a recent study. This life-threatening medical condition occurs when the aorta suddenly rips open, often causing severe internal bleeding and death.
What is the problem?
Avelox (moxifloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic that can damage collagen and connective tissue. This is why it carries a “Black Box” warning about tendon damage. The problem is that Avelox can also damage collagen in the wall of the aorta (the largest blood vessel in the body).
FDA Warning: Avelox and Aortic Aneurysms
In December 2018, the FDA published a Safety Communication to warn that Avelox increases the risk of deadly rips or tears in the wall of the aorta, called an “aortic aneurysm” or “aortic dissection.”
What is an Aortic Aneurysm?
The aorta is a blood vessel that originates in the heart and extends into the abdomen, supplying the body with oxygen-rich blood. It carries blood under very high pressure. An aortic aneurysm occurs when a weak spot develops in the wall of the aorta and allows it to “balloon” outward until it rips open.
Aneurysms can lead to aortic dissection, which is a tear in the wall of the aorta. It is called a “silent killer” because it often occurs suddenly, with no early symptoms until the aorta rips open.
Aortic aneurysms are extremely painful. They frequently cause sudden death due to massive internal bleeding, decreased blood-flow to organs, low blood pressure, and organ failure.
Studies Link Avelox and Aortic Aneurysm
In 2015, two studies suggested that Avelox could damage collagen in the aorta and increase the risk of an aneurysm. The first study was published by JAMA Internal Medicine in October 2015.
In November 2015, Avelox and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics were linked to a tripled increased risk of aortic aneurysm in a study publishes by the British Medical Journal.
Early Warning Signs
About 15,000 people die from aortic aneurysms every year, often as a complication of uncontrolled high blood pressure. Unfortunately, most people do not know they have an aneurysm until it is too late. If early symptoms do appear, they may include:
- Abdominal pain (may be constant or come and go)
- Lower back pain that may radiate to groin, buttocks, or legs
- Feeling a “heartbeat” or pulse in the abdomen
Symptoms of a Ruptured Aneurysm
When an aortic aneurysm suddenly ruptures, severe internal bleeding causes blood pressure to plummet. Vital organs start shutting down due to lack of oxygen-rich blood. The symptoms of a ruptured aortic aneurysm may include:
- Severe back or abdominal pain that begins suddenly
- Dry mouth or skin and excessive thirst
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat