The antibiotic Avelox is linked to severe heart problems, such as heart failure, heart attacks, valve damage, aortic aneurysms, internal bleeding, and death.
Avelox and Tissue Damage
Avelox (moxifloxacin) is an antibiotic that can treat a wide range of bacterial infections. It belongs to a popular class of powerful antibiotics called fluoroquinolones.
Unfortunately, Avelox and other fluoroquinolones are known to damage collagen and connective tissues throughout the body. This is why the labels carry a “Black Box” warning about tendon damage, tendonitis, and tendon ruptures.
What is the Problem?
Tendons contain a similar type of connective tissue as the heart valves and the aorta (the largest blood vessel in the body). In recent years, studies have linked Avelox with several life-threatening side effects in the heart and aorta due to tissue damage, including sudden death.
What is the Risk?
- Heart failure
- Heart valve damage
- Aortic and mitral valve regurgitation
- Heart attack
- Hospitalization for heart problems
- Aortic aneurysm (aortic dissection)
- Severe internal bleeding
Study Links Heart Problems to Antibiotics
In September 2019, a study found that Avelox and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics may cause heart valve problems by damaging the delicate tissues in the flaps inside the heart valves. Over time, valve problems can lead to heart failure.
Current users of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic had a 240% increased risk of heart valve problems compared to current users of amoxicillin.
This side effect is called aortic or mitral valve regurgitation. It occurs when the flaps in the heart valves do not close completely, which allows blood to leak backward when the heart pumps. This forces the heart to work harder to supply enough blood to the body.
“Like the aorta, the healthy human aortic and mitral valves are also made up of collagen and connective tissue … When the valve connective tissue is compromised, it can lead to mitral valve prolapse and mitral regurgitation,” according to the study’s lead author.
The risk was highest for current users of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, followed by recent users (within 60 days). No risk was observed for people who had used a fluoroquinolone more than 60 days ago.
The study, Fluoroquinolones and Cardiac Valve Regurgitation was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It is a long-term complication of valve damage. The symptoms of heart failure may include dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, irregular heartbeat, weakness, and confusion.
FDA Warning: Avelox and Aortic Aneurysms
In December 2018, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication to warn about an increased risk of aortic aneurysms (ruptures or tears in the aorta) from Avelox and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics in certain patients, such as patients with high blood pressure or other health conditions.
What is an Aortic Aneurysm?
An aortic aneurysm (or “aortic dissection”) is when the aorta suddenly rips open, causing massive internal bleeding and, frequently, sudden death. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. It carries a lot of blood under high pressure. Unfortunately, Avelox and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics can damage tissues in the aorta and cause a weak spot to balloon outward. For many patients, there are no symptoms until the aorta suddenly bursts.
List of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics
- Avelox (moxifloxacin)
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Levaquin (levofloxacin)
- Zymaxid (gatifloxacin)
- And more