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Levaquin User Files Shareholder Proxy for Johnson & Johnson's Next Annual Meeting

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Passaic, NJPaul Cahan's story is a tragic example of the drug industry's failure—and the FDA's failure—to recall Levaquin and other dangerous quinolones. Since Cahan suffered permanent tendon and nerve damage from Floxin, he has advocated for a complete Levaquin withdrawal and even filed a Shareholder Proxy for Johnson & Johnson's next Annual Meeting for shareholders…

In 2007 Cahan bought one share of Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) stock so that he could attend the shareholder meeting and ask shareholders to:

1. Have J&J sales representatives discontinue the incentive program for selling Levaquin and Floxin so they can tell the truth about its toxicity to doctors.
2. Add to the Levaquin label that permanent delayed reactions can lead to chronic pain and the medication must be stopped at the slightest sign of reaction.

At the end of his speech, Cahan (who was in a wheelchair) asked William Weldon, J&J CEO, to "stick with your company credo—to help people," and he was given a standing ovation. "At the reception, the chairman of their pharmaceutical group came up to me and said she wanted to help me," says Cahan. "She asked me to sign up as a research candidate and said, 'My people will get back to you; these drugs should never be used for common infections.' I wrote to the board of directors and phoned several times, but I heard nothing back from her or anyone else at J&J."

A few years ago Cahan bought more J&J shares so that he could file a Shareholder Proxy for Johnson & Johnson's next Annual Meeting for shareholders—in April 2011. "I want them to vote on forcing the company to put a warning on the Levaquin label, stating it can cause permanent tendon and nerve damage, with permanent pain, differentiating it from the type of tendon injury that can heal when brought about externally by way of a sports-type injury. Internal damage that causes this much cellular destruction is permanent, and shareholders will hopefully have a chance to force the company to be honest and upfront about this information…"

Since 1998, Cahan has suffered permanent damage from taking Floxin, Levaquin's predecessor, which he took for just 10 days. "My calves and ankles became increasingly swollen to the point where every step hurt," Cahan says. "I saw a number of doctors but no one was aware of these drug reactions, although one doctor admitted that the swelling was from Floxin and he prescribed anti-inflammatory meds. He also told me to avoid stairs.

"About a month later, both Achilles tendons ruptured—a complete fraying of the small tendons. I was on disability for about four months, at home in a cast. I returned to work on crutches but was still in so much pain that one day I broke down and cried. I didn't want to lose my job; I didn't know what was going on with my body. I was given prednisone; I was going to physical therapy and taking lots of sick days. This went on for years. Instead of using stairs on the subway I had to take a taxi; I had to prop up my legs at meetings and during the day I had to elevate them. It was a desperate time of my life.

"The problem was that doctors didn't know how to stop the inflammatory process and pain. (Science doesn't know how this happened so there isn't a cure—so far.) Quite honestly, I became suicidal. I couldn't sleep from the pain. I got help online and found through discussion groups that many other Floxin and Levaquin users had the same problems.."

Levaquin sufferers are counting on people like Paul Cahan to help them take this dangerous drug off the market. And they may help others, including prescribing doctors, to only take quinolone antibiotics as a last resort.

"Once a label is changed, it opens up the statute of limitations," adds Cahan. "People who have fallen through the cracks like me could be eligible for compensation. If [the drug manufacturers] have to change the label, thousands and thousands of injured people will then be able to join a class action lawsuit."

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I thank everyone who commented from this article for their understanding and support.
I'm so messed up now... I even got my blog wrong.
it's www.levaquinadversepainart.blogspot.com
I can't believe for years I just didn't notice that detail.
the meds I'm on, the lack of sleep.... all that steals the healthy mind and body away. there is no amount of money that can compensate for the damage this has done. a life is priceless. these shithead executives like bill crouse and Campbell and mullen... all these people who knew they were selling extremely dangerous compounds are all going to go to HELL and hopefully live in chronic guilt while on earth for improperly warning the FDA, the doctors, and the patients and pharmacists about the true statistical dangers of taking these and extent of the permanent damage that they can do.

Posted by

on
here it is, January 2014 and my damaged Achilles tendons are the same as they have been since the ruptures from Levaquin in 1998, I live in chronic pain.... sometimes the tendon has deep pain to the bone and feels like ice.. I have to get up at 1 am I can't sleep and dunk both legs in a bg bucket of very warm water and sit on the edge of the tub. how depressing. but I don't give up. I started a blog on this poison, and the art I did to help express what the chronic pain is like. it's www.levaquinpainart.blogspot.com
even with pain meds, my pain goes on and on and on. it's an awful way to live. shame on family for not wanting to 'bother' with me. someday something's going to happen to those who cast off the injured and retribution will come their way.

Posted by

on
CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON! CIPRO IS POISON!

Posted by

on
I am also a victim of Levaquin. I never ever thought that my doctor could prescribe a drug that could cause me so much harm. I had a delayed reaction (6 months) and it's been horrible trying to regain my health. I've seen several doctors for help, most cannot help me. I have a torn rotator cuff with adhesive capsulitis and bursitis. My arm hurts so much that I carry it around like a baby. I didn't even have an injury that points to why I have a torn tendon. I also have many other symptoms involving my joint and muscles hurting too. I was perfectly healthy except for a sinus infection before I took Levaquin. Levaquin is a poison.

Posted by

on
I have been sick for 15 months now, since taking Levaquin for a UTI. I have found so much support online, by so many others affected by this poison. It's a shame I haven't found near the support from Johnson & Johnson, the FDA or medical community. I pray that with all of us banding together, eventually our collective voices will grow too loud to be ignored.

Posted by

on
Please read this with careful consideration. On November 17, 2011 I was prescribed Levaquin 750mg for
7 days for a suspected kidney infection. Four days into taking this drug, I had a severe allergic reaction and severe
side effects. My allergic reaction was loss of breath and throat closure. My side effects were and some still are:
hives, severe back and abdomen pain, burning sensations in skin/throat/esophagus/sinuses/eyes, high blood
pressure with rapid heart rate, head and ear pressure and ringing, joint/muscle/tendon pain and popping, panic
attacks and anxiety, short term memory loss (brain fog), insomnia and nightmares when I was able to sleep,
water retention and swelling in hands and feet, tingling sensation in hands and feet, extreme fatigue, kidney pain,
and painful headaches. My three children, ages 4, 5, and 9, have had to watch their mother become a zombie
who could not even care for herself let alone them. Who had to have their grandmother come and take care
of them for 2 weeks straight, because their mother could not manage to think at all or get up and do anything. I'm 2 months out from taking the Levaquin, and I'm still in pain from tendons/joints/muscles, have some anxiety and panic, burning sensations, nausea and dizziness, some brain fog, some kidney/back/abdomen pain, occasional muscle spasms, and fatigue.
Please get these drugs off of the market!

Posted by

on
In the fall of 2007 I was given Levaquin, one of several antibiotics in a class called fluoroquinolones which also includes Cipro, Avelox and some others. No one discussed the many possible side effects with me despite the fact that this drug has what is called a black box warning, the most serious warning about problems there is before a drug is removed from the marketplace entirely. In fact, more than half of all the related drugs have already been banned.

I immediately began to feel sick but I was already dealing with a variety of other post surgical issues and was whacked on pain pills so no one took me seriously. In the course of the next few months I endured a horrible series of medical problems and yet no one caring for me was able to figure out what was going on despite the fact that nearly all these things are listed in the literature about Levaquin.

I was dizzy, nauseous, tired and confused. I lost control of my bladder and had horrific gas and diarrhea. My whole body hurt. I had blood clots. I had ruptured tendons and unexplained cartilage damage. My blood pressure went through the ceiling. My prostate bloated up. I had insomnia. I had pulmonary edema. My stomach hurt and I had terrible heartburn. I had a hematoma and huge varicose veins erupted on my leg. I had rashes all over, and mysterious bruises, and my wounds wouldn't heal. My skin felt like bugs were crawling around underneath it. I had tingling sensations in my back that went all over my body. I had unprompted sharp pains all over that appeared and disappeared. My joints hurt and they began popping loudly. I had ringing in my ears. I had wild crazy panic attacks. I couldn't understand what I was reading, or make sense of signs, or follow a TV show, or even tell time. My vision deteriorated rapidly. My blood oxygen levels were low. And for some reason I was really depressed.

As of January 2012, it's been almost four and a half years since I was floxed (that's the informal term for victims of fluoroquinolone toxicity) and I am still a mess. Fortunately, things aren't nearly as bad as they were. At this point I am able to work part time but that will probably not last a whole lot longer; my discs are crumbling and my knees are going. Unfortunately, the damage from fluoroquinolones is permanent and ongoing; as some things heal others continue to deteriorate.

Fluoroquinolones were designed to be a last resort antibiotic and yet they are being prescribed for sinus and urinary infections. The manufacturer admits that all these side effects happen but they claim that only 0.7% of the population will experience them, and yet if you Google these drugs page after page after page will come up with support groups and facebook pages and stories of misery just like mine. The problem is that the onset of these symptoms is often delayed, sometimes by months or even years so a huge percentage of the victims have no idea what caused the problems. They are then misdiagnosed. The other problem is that most people who get symptoms get most or all of them. The problems are systemic; fluoroquinolones alter the DNA. The problems are also permanent.

There is very little research being done in regards to this problem because the various producers of these drugs are making huge profits selling them. They are in complete denial that these problems even exist and the FDA is ridiculously underfunded and overworked.

Not only do the victims of this blatant corporate greed deserve compensation but the executives in charge of the companies producing these drugs should spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

DO NOT TAKE LEVAQUIN, CIPRO, OR AVELOX!

Thank You,

Mark Girard

Posted by

on
Facebook.com/FluoroquinoloneToxicity

Theres over 1700 members in this group alone who have suffered from fluoroquinolone antibiotics (levaquin, cipro, avelox)!!! I was blasted with levaquin and steroids 3 times, kept going to the ER, no one knew what was wrong. Took me over a year to find out why I was staying so sick. Doctors REFUSE to believe I have been poisoned, instead guess at what it could be, misdiagnose me with other issues (IBS, RA, MRSA, lymes, CFS,etc) give me yet MORE drugs......I was almost perfect health before levaquin, I am healing thank GOD, but over 2 years of my life is gone........I still wonder how permanent the damage was done to me. I have had to have almost all my teeth pulled since then, total break down of them. Yea doctors are handing these toxic potentially irreversable harmful drugs out like candy, 2 of my friends were prescribed levaquin along with steroids both were diabetic, both DIED!!!!!!!!!!! BOTH had massive heart attacks both under 50, one was only 33....coincidence? not in my small town, same doctor, same drugs, both diabetic, both young....countless people I run into who have been affected by these drugs yet are being told they dont know what is wrong and are just being prescribed MORE drugs! What happened to healing? How can dangerous drugs that have been BANNED from other countries due to the dangers continually be pedalled out like candy here????? They arent even reading the warnings on the very medicines they are prescribing!!!!!!! Its like a nightmare..........

Posted by

on
Thank you for your work Paul. I am a twice floxed Levaquin survivor and I do mean survivor. I won't go on about my experience but I will say that I work with people all over the world to assist them with recovery and management of this horrific experience. I have spent hours with people who thought suicide was the only option because the pain and suffering is so horrific and indescribable. No doctor will acknowledge us, no government official will assist, all we have are ourselves. We must continue and we must stop the poisoning of innocent people.

Posted by

on
Thank you to the author of this article who has reported on the plight of victims of Levaquin, a most dangerous antibiotic, side effects worse than many chemotherapy medications. UPDATE: It's 3:00 AM EST and I awoke after
2 hrs sleep with excruciating pain in both calves and ankles.. deep 'neuropathic" type pain. I may as well do something so here I am. I received a copy of the 9 page letter from Johnson & Johnson's law firm sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking them to allow them not to print my proxy for the shareholders to vote on. I am in need very quickly, within 2 weeks, of an attorney interested in helping me write a response. They state that the proxy involves "regular business operations" of the company and thus, does not need to be printed. The precedents that they outlined were minor issues that other shareholders of H.J. Heinz, The Coca Cola Co., Campbell Soup, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Family Dollar Stores, submitted, and were rejected... even a proxy lobbying expences of Bristol Myers Squibb was mentioned.. etc. etc. All irrelevant to the seriousness of this issue. This is like comparing ordinances requesting parking being banned to allow street cleaning once a week for 4 hours, with the banning of DDT... you get the picture. I know this might be stretching it, but if it happened to you, you'd agree with my argument that this proxy is of an extremely serious nature, it involves the ruining of thousands of lives young and old, the early death of untold hundreds and is about a subject in another league than any of the precedents that their arguement stands on. The company has a long history of lying to regulators, many research operations had to be shut down by the FDA on their drugs, and they have intentionally lobbied to exclude warnings about this drug. There had to be a law-suit to finally put a black box warning on this drug not too long ago, and it's just buried in fine print when one gets it at the pharmacy. They have FDA investigations going on with some of their operations and even their Board of Directors is being sued by two pension funds. This company has proven that they do not care about the human toll of suffering that they are responsible for. It's a runaway train that must be stopped. Some human actions are at a different level than others for good reason. There is no statute of limitations on murder cases. Scientists do not know exactly what destruction mechanism happens in the body with Levaquin to cause so much permanent harm. All I know is that MRI's and nerve conduction tests of mine show that good, vital cells to the operation of my body have been permanently killed and the mechanism of regeneration has also been killed. This is in my opinion, murder of part of my body that causes permanent pain. I surmise that they intentionally do not do research because they do not want to publish the bad news that they would find.... that this is an extremely toxic agent that should only be used when a patient has no other alternative. In a case like this, Securities and Exchange Commission has a responsibility to look at the corporate behavior and deem whether or not their product and it's usage, is in the best interest of the public. Clearly, they have NOT behaved responsibly, and are NOT going about their ordinary business operations in a way consistent with our own constitution, guaranteeing the safety and happiness of citizens to live a life free. I and many others have been reduced to living as virtual prisoners in our homes. I cannot work, let alone enjoy an active life, no more skiing, no more walks in the woods, no more peaceful nights sleep. Pain rules my life. Life has become a burden and not a joy.
My body has been irreparably harmed and the FDA reports that only 10 percent of adverse reactions are reported to them, and with Levaquin, they have over 50,000 adverse events on file... so do the math, half a million U.S Citizens have been harmed by this drug and we do not know how many of those are permanent, but it's significant. One law firm has 2,600 cases to go to trial.... there would be hundreds of thousands of cases if the 2 year statute of limitations was ruled unfair. The SEC is protecting a company from going bankrupt. Of course, their bankruptcy would not be good for anyone, but there has to be a start at least in protecting the public from future permanent harm and my proxy is I hope, that start. Please, won't an attorney step forward and contact me, and help me in my response to the SEC and help me argue that my proxy is worthy of being presented to the shareholders this April 2011 and the label change would let patients and doctors made aware of what they are taking, and prescribing.

Posted by

on
I am currently in a group lawsuit for levaquin damage to my biceps tendons in both arms. I am in a wheelchair because of charcot-like problems with my feet. Also I had both knees replaced and one required 4 surgeries and finally ended up with a wire going through my leg bone and up and around my patella in an attempt to keep it where it is supposed to be. Eventually, after about 6 months, the wire broke and we gave up on having a good fix on that knee. The left one was OK for a few years but now it (as well as the other one) can hyper-extend without warning and very nearly throws me forward -- so far not to the ground but only because I'm always holding onto something. I saw my knee man this week and he said I had something wrong with my nerves and ligaments but he couldn't quite put his finger on just what the cause was and obviously it will continue to get worse. I don't know whether or not to try to blame the levaquin I took on all my nerve and connective tissue problems, but I'm in there with a group sueing Johnson & Johnson. I'm only 73 and otherwise in decent health. I'm essentially an invalid physically -- I can only walk short, very short, distances and I must hold on because my sense of balance is just about gone. Happy new year, y'awl.

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