May 12, 2016 — The FDA is warning that the risk of disabling side effects outweighs the benefit of prescribing fluoroquinolone antibiotics for some of the most common infections.
Fluoroquinolones are a family of broad-spectrum antibiotic drugs, some of the most powerful on the market. The FDA is concerned they are being inappropriately prescribed for minor infections when a less-risky antibiotic would suffice.
Not only does this practice unnecessarily expose patients to a risk of severe side effects, it contributes to the growing epidemic of antibiotic-resistant infections.
The FDA is asking doctors not to prescribe fluoroquinolone antibiotics for sinus infections (sinusitis), bronchitis, or uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) when patients can take a safer antibiotic.
The FDA is also asking patients to seek immediate medical attention if they develop side effects:
“Some signs and symptoms of serious side effects include tendon, joint and muscle pain, a “pins and needles” tingling or pricking sensation, confusion, and hallucinations.”
Antibiotics save countless lives every year, but they come with serious risks. Fluoroqunolones have a “Black Box” warning about the risk of tendon ruptures and tendonitis — especially patients older than 60.
In August 2013, the FDA warned strengthened warnings about peripheral neuropathy, a severe type of nerve damage that can cause permanent pain, weakness, tingling, and abnormal sensations.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotic medications include:
- Levaquin (levofloxacin)
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Noroxin (norfloxacin)
- Factive (ofloxacin)
- Floxin (gemifloxacin)