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Levaquin Side Effects
Levaquin (levofloxacin) is a member of a class of drugs known as quinolones. This powerful antibiotic, which was approved by the FDA in 1996, is manufactured by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and is only available with a prescription. Levaquin was originally approved as a treatment for serious bacteria infections or infections that did not respond to other medicines. By 2002, however, Levaquin was among the most frequently prescribed drugs.
Levaquin Linked To Tendon Ruptures
By 2010 over 700 cases of Levaquin tendon ruptures, including Achilles heal ruptures and rotator cuff damage, had been reported to the FDA (this number may account for only 10 percent of complaints).
Johnson & Johnson faces tens of thousands of Levaquin lawsuits filed by users who allege the drug caused tendon injuries, irreversible nerve damage and other serious Levaquin side effects.
Levaquin lawsuits claim that Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical did not provide adequate warnings to doctors and patients about the possibility of the drug causing such severe Levaquin side effects: the FDA has reported that more than 60 percent of fluoroquinolone-related tendon injuries are linked to Levaquin.
John Fratti of Hershey, PA, filed a Levaquin lawsuit against J&J in 2009, claiming that Levaquin caused debilitating side effects, including extreme pain in his arms and legs, tendon injuries and nerve damage.
So far, two Levaquin lawsuits of a reported 2,500 pending claims have made their way to court. One was found in favor of the plaintiff while the other was found in favor of Johnson & Johnson. The first lawsuit resulted in a $1.8 million award to a 76-year-old man who alleged he ruptured both Achilles tendons and lost his ability to play golf and walk through malls. The man said three days after taking Levaquin he felt a stabbing pain in his ankles. A jury found Levaquin to blame. In June 2011, however, a jury found in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a Levaquin lawsuit after determining that the company properly warned about the risks associated with the antibiotic. All federal Levaquin lawsuits have been consolidated in an MDL before Judge John R. Tunheim in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. In December 2011 Oregon resident Diane K. Eccles filed a Levaquin side effects lawsuit and joined the MDL litigation. As of November 2011 over 1,600 Levaquin side effects lawsuits are currently pending in the MDL, and that number is increasing.
In 2008, Public Citizen filed a petition with the FDA, requesting that stronger warnings be issued regarding Levaquin tendon rupture side effects. The consumer protection group then filed a federal lawsuit asking the court to require the FDA to act on their petition-- requesting that new warnings be added about side effects of antibiotics--in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
Levaquin History and the FDA
In July 2008 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the Levaquin manufacturer to add a black box warning on the Levaquin label--after it had been associated with tendinitis and ruptured tendons.
The FDA warning states: "Ruptures of the shoulder, hand, Achilles tendon, or other tendons that required surgical repair or resulted in prolonged disability have been reported in patients receiving quinolones, including levofloxacin. Post-marketing surveillance reports indicate that this risk may be increased in patients receiving concomitant corticosteroids, especially the elderly. Levofloxacin should be discontinued if the patient experiences pain, inflammation, or rupture of a tendon. Patients should rest and refrain from exercise until the diagnosis of tendinitis or tendon rupture has been confidently excluded. Tendon rupture can occur during or after therapy with quinolones, including levofloxacin."
In 2011 another black box warning was required to be added to the packaging of the antibiotics, warning that the drugs could worsen myasthenia gravis symptoms, which is a condition that causes muscle weakness and difficulty breathing when the chest wall muscles are affected.
Signs & Symptoms of Tendon Rupture
The tendon most frequently associated to the Levaquin induced ruptures is the Achilles tendon, however Levaquin has also been linked to tendon ruptures in the rotator cuff (shoulder), the biceps, the hand, and the thumb. Symptoms often associated with an Achilles tendon rupture are:
Symptoms of tendinitis that are produced near a joint aggravated by movement include the following:
Tthe FDA approved the first generic versions of Levaquin in tablet, oral solution and injectable solutions. Among the companies that have applied for generic levofloxacin are Akorn, Aurobindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Glenmark Generics, Hi-Tech Pharmacal, Lupin, Mylan, Sagent Strides, Sandoz, Teva, Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Wockhardt.
This video, produced by the FDA, warns patients and physicians of Levaquin tendon injuries and tendon ruptures.
Levaquin is still one of J&J’s biggest selling drugs. According to IMS Health, in 2010 Levaquin generated $1.5 billion in sales for the drug company.
Levaquin Ruptured Tendon Legal HelpIf you or a family member have used Levaquin and have suffered a ruptured tendon or tendinitis, you may be entitled to compensation. Please click the link below to send your complaint to a Levaquin lawyer who will review your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated on Jan-23-12
LEVAQUIN ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS
Investment Firm Wants Johnson & Johnson to Be Accountable for Levaquin Side Effects
New Brunswick, NJ: A California-based investment firm wants Johnson & Johnson to be held accountable for tendon injuries, irreversible nerve damage and other Levaquin side effects, The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported [READ MORE]
Investors Want to Hold J&J's Feet to Levaquin Tendon Fire
Newark, NJ: It seems like Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the makers of Levaquin through its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has more to worry about than tens of thousands of levaquin lawsuits. Now, in a move that is not unprecedented but is nonetheless rare, an investment firm with shares in J&J is trying to force the manufacturer to be held accountable for levaquin side effects and other injuries allegedly triggered by the powerful antibiotic [READ MORE]
Levaquin Nerve Damage Lawsuits Next?
Haynesville, GA: Not only is Levaquin linked to ruptured tendons, its serious side effects also include nerve damage, as listed on the Ortho McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceutical medication guide. But Levaquin's black box warning came too late for too many people such as Lucille, who were prescribed this "last resort" antibiotic for respiratory problems [READ MORE]
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