Avelox (moxifloxacin) side effects include peripheral neuropathy, a rare but serious type of nerve damage that can cause chronic nerve pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and more. In August 2013, the FDA published new warnings about Avelox and peripheral neuropathy to emphasize the risk of permanent nerve damage that can occur within days.
What is Avelox (moxifloxacin)?
Avelox (moxifloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections, including bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, anthrax, skin infections, and more. It was developed by Bayer AG and approved for sale in the U.S. in 1999. In 2011, over 2.5 million people were given oral or intravenous (IV) Avelox.
Moxifloxacin product names include:
FDA Warning for Avelox and Peripheral Neuropathy
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first warned about the risk of peripheral neuropathy from Avelox in 2004. In August 2013, they published an updated Safety Warning for Avelox and Peripheral Neuropathy. The new warnings specifically tell doctors to discontinue treatment with Avelox if patients develop symptoms of nerve damage. Furthermore, the FDA warned:
“The onset of peripheral neuropathy after starting fluoroquinolone therapy was rapid, often within a few days. In some patients the symptoms had been ongoing for more than a year despite discontinuation of the fluoroquinolone. Several patients were continued on the fluoroquinolone drug despite the occurrence of neuropathic symptoms.”
What is Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)?
Peripheral Neuropathy (nerve damage) causes problems with nerve signals between the brain and body, especially the limbs. Avelox is associated with sensorimotor polyneuropathy, which affects the following types of nerves:
- Motor nerves: Damage to motor nerves can cause problems with muscle weakness, spasms, and coordination. This can result in poor sense of body position, balance, fine motor skills, and walking.
- Sensory nerves: Damage to sensory nerves can make it feel like the skin is covered in a thin sock. When touching an object, it can be difficult to tell whether the object is smooth, rough, hot, or cold. Sensory nerve damage can also cause extreme touch sensitivity, chronic pain, tingling, and numbness.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
- Paresthesia (abnormal sensation of tingling, pricking, burning, etc.)
- Pain that may be severe, jabbing, and sharp
- Extreme touch sensitivity
- Muscle weakness and atrophy
- Decreased reflexes
- Decreased muscle coordination
- Problems walking
- And more