Avelox and Other Fluoroquinolones May Cause Aortic Dissection
Recent studies, published by the American Medical Association and numerous medical journals, show a link between the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Avelox, and a substantial risk for aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections. The 2015 studies identify a logical “association” between fluoroquinolone use and the development of severe aortic disorders, including fatal aortic ruptures.
Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the lining of the aorta—the primary artery in the body—is broken down under distress, causing debilitating complications that often lead to death. These conditions are called silent killers as without regular monitoring there is often no warning that the aorta has been compromised.
When the aorta wall ruptures, patients have roughly a 50 percent chance of survival. Available research warns that the use of antibiotics like Avelox (moxifloxacin) could be associated with an increased risk immediately following treatment, or years later.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati product liability lawyer and Ohio pharmaceutical attorney, representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of wrongful death and injury claims related to dangerous pharmaceutical products.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are helpful in treating a wide variety of infections, but they also carry the potential to cause “disabling” side effects like aortic aneurysms and dissections, as well as permanent nerve damage. Injured patients and lawyers have filed countless lawsuits against major drug makers, claiming that the side effects they list as “rare” are deceptively understated.
These common drugs have a history of generating adverse health reactions, and the most recent updates from the FDA are predictable. The fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics has concerned U.S. health officials for the last decade. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented a new boxed warning on fluoroquinolone packaging, clearly listing the risks of tendon rupture. Avelox, Cipro, Noroxin and Levaquin were among the drugs targeted in that specific FDA warning.
In 2013 the FDA issued another warning regarding peripheral neuropathy (permanent nerve damage) as a potential side effect of Avelox. The warning says permanent nerve damage is possible in the arms, hands, legs and feet of patients.
The government agency followed up by recommending a restriction on the drugs’ use to a last resort. The FDA statement explains, “Health care professionals should not prescribe systemic fluoroquinolones to patients who have other treatment options.” The agency says (for some patients), “the risks outweigh the benefits.” Research suggests that more prudent use of the antibiotics could avoid fatal aortic aneurysms.
Recent studies on cardiac problems, published by the American College of Cardiology, are consistent with established research and warnings. The recent data build on evidence that Avelox may induce aortic aneurysm and dissection in the same physiological manner it damages collagen in tendons.
Health professionals urge that aortic aneurysms and dissections be diagnosed quickly, and that victims seek immediate medical attention if they experience the following symptoms:
• Severe abdominal, chest or back pain
• Migrating pain in the back or legs
• Dizziness and disorientation
• Drastic change in blood pressure
• Difficulty breathing or speaking
• Loss of vision
• Weakness on one side of the body
Avelox (moxifloxacin), manufactured by Bayer AG, is a popular broad-spectrum antibacterial agent used to treat bacterial infections, including the following:
• Sinus infections
• Intra-abdominal infections
• Skin infections
• Lung infections—bronchitis and pneumonia
Treatment with fluoroquinolones like Avelox (moxifloxacin) has not only been associated with an increased risk for aortic aneurysm or dissection, but several other serious conditions, including:
• Peripheral Neuropathy (permanent nerve damage)
• Central nervous system disruption (convulsions, tremors and seizures)
• Tendon rupture—commonly affecting lower extremities (Achilles tendon)
• Severe allergic reactions (DRESS)
• Depression and anxiety
• Renal Failure
• Liver damage (hepatotoxicity)
The FDA public adverse reaction database lists thousands of reports blaming Avelox, and other fluoroquinolones, for causing the conditions listed above.
Side effects can occur within hours after starting a fluoroquinolone course. According to reports, side effects can last as long as nine years after treatment. Several cases reported the side effects continued even after treatment stopped.
In November, 2015, the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee released a report on the serious risks of antibiotics like Avelox. The report includes several specific cases of adverse reactions that patients suffered during the treatment of fluoroquinolones.
Patients of all ages treated with Avelox could be at risk of developing dangerous cardiac problems, including aortic dissection. Available data suggest the duration of treatment could be a likely factor, though adverse reactions have been reported as soon as the first dose.
A 2015 study, published in the BMJ Open Journal, followed 1.7 million patients taking a fluoroquinolone. The research found that within a month of finishing treatment, patients were more than twice as likely to experience aortic aneurysm as similar patients taking other courses of drugs. The study concluded in clear terms: “Fluoroquinolone prescriptions can contribute acutely to aneurysm progression and rupture.”
Over 26 million Americans receive a prescription for a fluoroquinolone antibiotic like Avelox, Noroxin, Cipro or Levaquin each year. Medical officials note that their widespread use makes the drugs a public health concern. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims about 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions in the United States are “unnecessary.”
Fluoroquinolones like Avelox are often effective treatments for infections, but in some cases, alternatives should be considered. Responsibility for full disclosure of health hazards lies with the manufacturers and distributors of these drugs. Patients who receive Avelox treatment have a right to be warned about a potentially lethal risk to the aorta.
If you or a loved one has suffered an aortic dissection or medication-related injury after taking Avelox, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.