The antibiotic Levaquin has been linked to many severe side effects, including heart failure and other heart problems, aortic aneurysms, nerve damage, tendon ruptures, and more.
What is Levaquin?
Levaquin (levofloxacin) belongs to a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. These drugs kill bacteria by interfering with DNA inside cells. Unfortunately, this may also have adverse effects in the human body.
Levaquin and Heart Failure
Levaquin is known to damage collagen and connective tissue, which is why tendon ruptures are so common. In a recent study of 9 million people in the U.S., researchers in Canada found that Levaquin can also damage collagen in the heart valves, specifically in the delicate flaps that open and close in the heart valves.
When the heart valves stop working properly, blood leaks backward when the heart pumps, forcing the heart to work harder. Over time, valve problems can lead to heart failure, in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body. Levaquin may also increase the risk of heart attacks and hospitalization for other heart problems.
Levaquin and Aortic Aneurysms
Aortic aneurysms occur when the wall of the aorta weakens and “balloons” outward. In severe cases, the aorta can rupture and cause deadly internal bleeding. Experts believe Levaquin increases the risk of this side effect by damaging collagen and connective tissues in the aorta. The risk is especially serious for patients with high blood pressure.
Levaquin and Nerve Damage
Another serious side effect of Levaquin is peripheral neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage that interferes with signals between the brain and peripheral nerves in the arms and legs. People who develop this condition often have pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, burning, or problems sensing texture and temperature of objects.
Levaquin and Peripheral Neuropathy
In August 2013, the FDA published new warnings about the risk of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) from Levaquin. This side effect was first identified in 2004. The updated warnings emphasize that this side effect can occur rapidly (within 72 hours) and it may be permanent.