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FDA: Risks of Powerful Antibiotics May Outweigh Benefits

FDA: Risks of Powerful Antibiotics May Outweigh Benefits

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:

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