Fluoroquinolones are powerful antibiotics used to treat many different forms of bacterial infections when medications such as penicillin and amoxicillin are not effective options. This family of medications includes Cipro and Levaquin, which have been linked to serious complications and injuries. The Chicago drug injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are investigating numerous claims by patients that these medications resulted in nerve damage, aortic aneurysms and other life threatening complications. If you were prescribed either of these medications and injured as a result of their use, we may be able to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to for the cost of your medical bills and the value of your out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering.
Fluoroquinolone Medications are Effective Alternatives to Penicillin
Medications like Cipro and Levaquin have proven to be effective against numerous serious infections, including urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, pneumonia and bronchitis. They are also an alternative doctors may consider if a patient is allergic to penicillin, or if the infection requiring treatment is resistant to medicines in the same family as penicillin or amoxicillin. As more drug resistant strains of bacteria have surfaced in recent years, the sale of fluoroquinolone medications has soared, earning pharmaceutical companies billions in profits.
While these medications have been considered as miracle treatments by many doctors and patients, they can have severe side effects that are not worth the benefits. The most serious of these side effects is the tear of walls within the aorta— the largest blood vessel in the body. These tears can allow blood to leak into surrounding layers of tissue, lead to the formations of clots that may result in a stroke or be the cause of heart failure.
Complications associated with these medications include, but are not limited to the following.
- Aortic aneurysm— this condition is referred to as a silent killer because it results from the buildup of blood inside of a tear in the aortic wall. When the enlarged area of the wall finally ruptures, the rapid blood loss that results can cause sudden pain and fatigue. Patients can quickly lose consciousness and have only a 50% chance of surviving once the vessel bursts.
- Peripheral neuropathy— fluoroquinolone medications may damage nerves throughout the body, resulting in the loss of feeling or motor function in the impacted areas. This condition may also result in tingling and pain that is difficult to treat. While some patients may recover from this condition, it may become permanent in many others and can occur after only one dose of a fluoroquinolone medication.
- Stroke and heart attack— the dissection or tearing of major arteries can result in the formation of clots, which may then move to the brain or form a blockage in the heart.
Status of Fluoroquinolone Lawsuits
Many patients who suffered from aortic aneurysm or dissection after taking Cipro or Levaquin are now bringing lawsuits against their manufacturers now that evidence has arisen that pharmaceutical companies were aware of risks and failed to disclose them to doctors and patients. The grounds of these lawsuits are that the drug companies knowingly marketed medications they knew had adverse effects and failed to provide reasonable warnings to doctors and the patients taking these medications.
The allegations made against these companies in current lawsuits include gross negligence, fraud and strict liability. Until 2013, the manufacturers of Cipro and Levaquin greatly downplayed the risks of these medications, even claiming that the chance of adverse events was rare. The makers of both Cipro and Levaquin have already settled some cases out of court, but thousands of claims are still proceeding as part of multi-district litigation.
While the FDA has required manufacturers to disclose the risk of peripheral neuropathy in the form of warnings on their products, the FDA has not released any warnings to the public about the risk of aortic dissection or aneurysm associated with the use of these medications. This places millions of people at risk of suffering from heart attack, stroke or aneurysms; and many more patients may be seriously injured or killed before these drug companies are forced to provide adequate warnings or remove these products from the market.
Our Chicago medical liability lawyers anticipate that many more clients will continue to come forward with claims as they become aware of their rights. If you or a loved one has suffered from an aortic aneurysm, dissection, heart attack, stroke or other serious complications resulting from the use of fluoroquinolone medications, we would like the opportunity to investigate your claim. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers continues to be a leading provider of award winning legal services across the State of Illinois.
Contact us today to arrange a risk free and confidential consultation with one of our qualified Chicago drug injury attorneys so that we can gather all of the information we need to investigate your claim and let you know what legal options are available for you. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means we will never accept fees for our services until we have successfully secured compensation on your behalf. If we fail to do so for any reason at all, our services will be free of charge.