Levaquin and Avelox Lawsuits Over Aortic Aneurism and Aortic Dissection
Levaquin is a prescription medication that is used to treat bacterial infections in the body. Part of an antibiotic class known as fluoroquinolones, Levaquin is used to treat bacterial infections, anthrax exposure and the plague. Levaquin is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and respiratory infections including bronchitis and pneumonia.
Levaquin (generic name Levofloxacin) is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of the Johnson & Johnson Company. Levaquin first gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 1999. This medication is considered a second-generation fluoroquinolone drug. The first generation of this type of medication is Cipro, the most commonly prescribed bacterial infection fighting medication. Levaquin is available in tablet form or is used in an intravenous solution.
Avelox is a prescription medication manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals in conjunction with Merrick Pharmaceuticals. It is a fourth-generation fluoroquinolone drug that was approved by the FDA in 1999 for the treatment of drug resistant bacterial infections. Prescribing information targeted this drug for drug resistant pneumonia, ear infections and meningitis. It was also authorized for the treatment of bacterial infections on the skin.
Avelox is available in 400 milligram tablet form or as an intravenous treatment. This pharmaceutical product is the third most often prescribed medication in the fluoroquinolone category of medications.
Parties Involved In The Lawsuits
There are several lawsuits against the makers of Lavaquin at this time. The most recent lawsuit was filed in March 2016 against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its parent company Johnson & Johnson in the amount of $800 million alleging that the company willfully withheld important information about the dangers related to their drug. Studies have now confirmed that use of this dangerous medication leads to a significant increase in Aortic Aneurism or Aortic Dissection.
At the same time, Johnson and Johnson was named in a criminal charge against the former FDA Commissioner, Margret Hamburg, regarding this medication. The former commissioner is being charged with violating the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act for the agencies handling of this dangerous medication.
Bayer Pharmaceuticals along with its partner Merrick Pharmaceuticals has been named in the allegations against their similar medication Avelox. Neither Bayer or Merrick was named in the RICO Act case.
Side Effects Associated With Use Of These Drugs
There are several side effects associated with the use of Levaquin and Avelox. According to the prescribing labels attached to the medication, the following are considered common side effects:
- Vomiting or upset stomach
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Oral or Vaginal Yeast infections
Side Effects sometimes associated with the use of these drugs, taken from their drug label:
- Bruising is occurring
- Signs of new infection, such as a sore throat
- Change in the amount of urine (decrease)
Seek immediate care of the following occur:
- Consistent or worsening headache
- Vision changes
- Seizures, shaking or convulsions
- Dizziness leading to fainting and irregular heart beat
- Confusion, depression, or thoughts of suicide
- Yellowing of the skin
- Intense stomach pain
Rare Side Effects include:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Weakening of the tendons, tendonitis, tendon ruptures
- Clostridium difficile ( A violent form of diarrhea )
The warning labels currently do not have warnings related to the potential side effect of aortic aneurism or dissection.
Warning Signs of An Aortic Aneurism or Aortic Dissection
An aneurism is a bulge in a vein that can eventually rupture. Sadly, there are no warning signs of these aneurisms and they are not discovered until it is an emergency situation. Many times the aortic aneurisms can be found when a CT Scan or MRI is being conducted for other reasons.
Once an aneurism occurs, the symptoms include severe chest and/or back pain, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness.
When aortic dissection occurs, blood leaks from the artery into the body. This causes less blood to reach the organs. Many symptoms, including organ failure, stroke, or extreme fatigue can indicate that aortic dissection is occurring. A physician can diagnose this problem with the right imaging equipment.
In most cases, surgery is required to fix the problem and a portion of the aorta is removed and reconnected to eliminate the tear. Dissection is as bad as an aneurism and can lead to death if not treated.