Avelox is a popular antibiotic for many common infections. Unfortunately, it is linked to a growing number of severe side effects, including heart problems, aortic aneurysms, nerve damage, allergic skin reactions, and death.
What is Avelox?
Avelox (moxifloxacin) is one of the most popular antibiotics in a class of drugs called fluoroquinolones. Millions of people have taken Avelox since it was introduced in the 1990s.
FDA Updates Avelox Side Effect Warnings
In July 2016, the FDA warned that the risk of disabling side effects from Avelox outweighs its benefit for treating minor infections. The risks include heart problems, tendon ruptures, muscle and joint pain, nerve damage, confusion, hallucinations, and more. The FDA also warned patients to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms of these side effects.
Side Effects of Avelox
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Heart valve damage (aortic or mitral valve regurgitation)
- Aortic aneurysm (aortic dissection)
- Nerve damage
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Skin reactions
- Tendon ruptures and tendonitis
- Steven-Johnson Syndrome
- Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis
What is the Problem?
Avelox is a powerful antibiotic that is known to damage connective tissue and collagen throughout the body. This is why it carries a “Black Box” warning label about tendon damage. Unfortunately, the same type of connective tissue in the tendons is also found in the heart, aorta, and other areas of the body. In recent years, Avelox has been linked to many severe cardiovascular side effects, including heart valve damage and deadly aortic aneurysms.
Avelox and Heart Failure
Heart failure is a long-term complication of heart valve damage from Avelox. In September 2019, a study found that Avelox can damage the delicate flaps that open and close in the heart valves, causing a serious heart problem called aortic or mitral valve regurgitation. When the heart valves are damaged, they leak blood and force the heart to work harder to circulate blood.
Avelox and Aortic Aneurysms
Avelox can damage connective tissue in the wall of major blood vessels, which could lead to an aortic aneurysm. This side effect occurs when a weak spot in the wall of the aorta causes it to bulge outward. In severe cases, the artery tears or bursts open and causes severe internal bleeding and death. In December 2018, the FDA ordered drug-makers to update the label on Avelox to include stronger warnings about aortic aneurysms (also called “aortic dissections”), internal bleeding, and death.
Avelox and Nerve Damage
One of the most disabling side effects of Avelox is a type of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. The symptoms include muscle weakness, chronic pain, numbness, tingling, and more.
FDA Strengthens Warnings for Peripheral Neuropathy
The FDA originally warned about the risk of peripheral neuropathy from Avelox in 2004. Manufacturers reassured doctors that the symptoms would resolve if the antibiotic was discontinued. Unfortunately, these warnings were inadequate.
In 2013, the FDA published stronger warnings to emphasize that nerve damage from Avelox can occur rapidly — over 80% of cases occur within one week of taking the first dose of Avelox. Furthermore, the side effects may be permanent. The risk is particularly serious for people with diabetes.
Avelox and Skin Reactions
The label on Avelox warns about reports of “severe dermatologic reactions (for example, toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome).” SJS is a devastating skin rash that spreads rapidly and causes the outer layer of skin to peel off. Merck recommends that patients should immediately stop using Avelox at the first sign of a skin rash, or any other sign of hypersensitivity, and seek medical attention. There have been several reports of patients who developed SJS after taking Avelox for just a few days, including a 23 year-old woman who died.
Avelox and Eye Inflammation
In October 2014, JAMA Ophthalmology published a study by researchers who found an association between the antibiotic Avelox and a tripled increased risk of uveitis, a serious eye disease that causes swelling and irritation. Click here to read more.