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Levaquin Lawsuit Seeks Unspecified Damages

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St. Clair County, OHWhen Timothy Gilley was prescribed the antibiotic levaquin, he had no idea that the fluoroquinolone would have such a devastating impact on his tendons. It's for that reason that the Ohio man has launched a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Levaquin, claiming various allegations in a filing June 3 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

According to the July 20 issue of the Madison County Record, the defendants in the seven-count action are Johnson and Johnson, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, and Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development. The plaintiff alleges strict liability, negligence, breach of implied warranties, breach of express warranty, common law fraud, violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Statute and unjust enrichment. Gilley is seeking actual and compensatory damages, plus costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, and other relief. Dollar amounts were not specified.

According to The Record, the defendant claims to have had no knowledge of the risks he was taking with his own health by using the levaquin medication as prescribed given the risk for the levaquin tendon ruptures that Gilley is alleged to have encountered.

"Although the exact mechanism of how fluoroquinolones cause tendon injury is still being investigated," the lawsuit states, in part, "studies have suggested that fluoroquinolones can degrade tendon cells by causing apoptosis, or a programmable cell death, and therefore lose their integrity, and easily tear and/or rupture."

While acknowledging that the potential for tendon rupture was duly noted on product labeling, the plaintiff accuses the defendants of burying the ruptured tendon risk deep within an extended list of levaquin side effects. Gilley also alleges in his suit that there was no mention of that risk having the potential to triple for individuals over 60 years of age, together with patients who are undergoing corticosteroid therapy.

As has been the case with other lawsuits alleging levaquin tendon problems, an algorithm has been the subject of some focus—an algorithm that allegedly ignored roughly 70 percent of health claims by elderly persons, according to the lawsuit.

"The algorithm used CPT procedure codes that only related to surgical repair," the Gilley suit states. "This algorithm thereby excluded all those Achilles tendon rupture cases where the patient was casted or booted, as is the case in the elderly population. By manipulating the data, Defendant Johnson and Johnson PRD was able to exclude the very group that was prone to tendon rupture."

Levaquin is a powerful antibiotic often prescribed to eradicate upper respiratory infection, urinary tract infections, prostatitis and other bacterial infections—and for those indications has proved more than effective. However, the various levaquin side effects have been a source of frustration for some and life changing for others—especially when referencing the potential for levaquin and Achilles tendon.

Such an injury can have lasting effects on an individual's lifestyle or capacity to earn a living. Mobility issues can mean the difference between a senior having the capacity to live independently and having to rely on others for the day-to-day. Most plaintiffs have expressed surprise that an antibiotic intended to treat a respiratory infection, for example, can have such a devastating affect on tendons or levaquin muscle.

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