Noroxin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic that may double or triple the risk of aortic aneurysm, a life-threatening condition that can cause the aorta to burst open in the chest or the abdomen.
What is the problem?
Noroxin (norfloxacin) is an antibiotic in the fluoroquinolone class. All drugs in this class can damage collage and connective tissue, which is why they carry “Black Box” warnings about tendonitis and tendon ruptures. They have also been linked to other side effects that damage connective tissue, such as retinal detachment and aortic aneurysms.
What is an Aortic Aneurysm?
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. It originates in the heart and carries oxygen-rich blood into the abdomen. The wall of the aorta contains collagen, like tendons and ligaments. Aortic aneurysms occur when a weak spot develops in the aorta and causes a bulge or “ballooning” area that can rupture and cause massive internal bleeding.
Noroxin and Aortic Aneurysms
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics have been linked to a 2- to 3-fold increased risk of aortic aneurysms in two recent studies. The first study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine in October 2015.
Researchers in Taiwan analyzed medical records on nearly 150,000 people, including about 1,500 who had aneurysms after taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics. They found that past users of quinolones were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, and current users were 2.4-times more likely.
In November 2015, a study published by the British Medical Journal found that current users of quinolone antibiotics were more than 3-times as likely to develop aortic aneurysms. The results of the study were based on data from 1.7 million adults in Canada who took antibiotics, including 650,000 who used quinolones and 18,500 (1.1%) who had an aortic aneurysm.
Early Warning Signs & Symptoms of an Aneurysm
Aneurysms are often called “silent killers” because they do not produce many symptoms until they burst open and cause severe internal bleeding. In fact, aneurysms often grow for years without causing problems, often as a complication of high blood pressure.
When early symptoms do appear, they may occur after aortic dissection. This occurs when the inner wall of the aorta rips open and blood pools within the aortic wall. Other warning signs may include:
- Pain in the abdomen that is constant or comes and goes
- Pain in the lower back that radiates to the groin, buttocks, or legs
- Stomach area feels like it has a pulse or heartbeat
Ruptured Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms
Severe internal bleeding occurs when an aortic aneurysm ruptures. This can rapidly lead to shock, in which blood pressure plummets and vital organs start to shut down because they are not receiving oxygen or blood. Unless the patient undergoes emergency surgery, a ruptured aneurysm can cause organ failure and death.
Symptoms of a ruptured aortic aneurysm include:
- Severe abdominal or back pain that occurs suddenly
- Pale skin
- Dry mouth and skin
- Extreme thirst
- Nausea, vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid heartbeat