Cipro and Other Common Antibiotics Associated with Aortic Dissection
Recent studies, published by the American Medical Association and prominent medical journals, are concerned that the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Cipro, may be linked with a substantial risk for aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections. Such health events can lead to fatal aortic ruptures. The available research warns that the use of antibiotics like Cipro (ciprofloxacin) could be associated with an increased risk after immediate treatment, or years after.
Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the lining of the aorta—the main artery in the body—is broken down, allowing blood to seep into outside layers of tissue, quickly causing debilitating complications that often lead to death. When the aorta wall ruptures, patients have roughly a 50 percent chance of survival.
Medical scientists compiled data that shows the incidence of aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm in America has risen over the last 30 years, a primary cause of death each year for thousands of unknowing patients. The 2015 studies, published in the Pharmaceutical Journal, identify a logical “association” between fluoroquinolone (Cipro) use and the development of severe aortic disorders.
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.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are helpful in treating a wide variety of infections, but they also carry the potential to cause dangerous side effects like aortic aneurysms and dissections, as well as permanent nerve damage. Injured patients and attorneys have filed hundreds of lawsuits against major drug makers, claiming that the side effects they list as “rare” have been understated.
The fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics concerned U.S. health officials for the last decade. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented a clear, boxed warning, stating the risks of tendinitis and tendon rupture on fluoroquinolone packaging. Cipro, Noroxin, Levaquin, and Avelox were among the drugs listed in that specific FDA warning.
Various reports and complaints mounted from doctors and patients, and in 2013 the FDA issued another warning regarding peripheral neuropathy (permanent nerve damage) as a notable “disabling” side effect of Cipro and other fluoroquinolones. The government agency then recommended restricting the drugs’ use to a last resort for common infections. A recent research institute also suggested that more prudent use of the antibiotics could avoid countless aortic aneurysms.
The FDA statement reads: “Health care professionals should not prescribe systemic fluoroquinolones to patients who have other treatment options.” The agency goes on to say in some patients “the risks outweigh the benefits.”
In 2015, a research team at the University of Toronto discovered an association between fluoroquinolone use and an increased risk of aortic aneurysm. The study concluded in clear terms: “Fluoroquinolone prescriptions can contribute acutely to aneurysm progression and rupture.”
Recent studies involving cardiac problems, published by the American College of Cardiology, are consistent with already established research and warnings. The newer data build on evidence that Cipro induces aortic aneurysm and dissection in the same way it damages collagen in tendons.
Medical officials urge that aortic aneurysms and dissections be diagnosed quickly, and that victims seek immediate medical attention if they experience the following symptoms:
• Sudden and intense abdominal, chest or back pain
• Migrating pain in the back or legs
• Dizziness and disorientation
• Nausea and vomiting
• Unusually high or low blood pressure
• Difficulty breathing
• Sudden difficulty speaking
• Loss of vision
• Weakness on one side of the body
Treating patients with fluoroquinolones like Cipro (ciprofloxacin) has been associated with an increased risk for aortic aneurysm or dissection, and several other serious conditions, including:
• Peripheral Neuropathy—permanent nerve damage
• Central nervous system disruption—convulsions, tremors and seizures
• Tendon rupture—often affecting lower extremities (Achilles)
• Retinal detachment
• Vision impairment and hallucinations
• Depression and anxiety
• Muscle weakness and fatigue
• Joint pain
• Liver damage (hepatotoxicity)
• Severe allergic reactions (DRESS)
The FDA public adverse reaction database lists tens of thousands of complaints naming Cipro and other fluoroquinolones for causing the conditions listed above.
The most recent updates from the FDA and other professional medical sources are predictable. These common drugs have a history of generating adverse health reactions. In 2013, the FDA warned that Cipro treatment could lead to nervous disorders like irreversible peripheral neuropathy. The warning said permanent nerve damage was possible in the arms, hands, legs and feet of patients.
Other serious complaints in the last few years have included severe allergic reaction (DRESS), risk of tendon rupture, and muscle spasms.
Side effects can occur within hours to weeks after starting a fluoroquinolone course. According to reported events, side effects continue for an average of 14 months, and can last as long as 9 years after stopping the medicines. Several cases reported the side effects worsened or continued after treatment stopped.
A 2015 study of nearly 2 million patients, published in the BMJ Open journal, found that within a month of finishing fluoroquinolone treatment, patients were more than twice as likely to experience aortic aneurysm as similar patients taking other courses of drugs.
Patients of all ages treated with Cipro 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.
In November, 2015, the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee released a report on the damaging risks of antimicrobials like Cipro. The report includes several specific cases of injurious reactions that patients suffered during the treatment of fluoroquinolones.
Cipro (ciprofloxacin), manufactured and distributed by Bayer, is a popular broad-spectrum antibacterial agent used to treat bacterial infections, including the following:
• Sexual transmitted diseases
• Urinary tract infection
• Chronic prostate infection
• Lower respiratory tract infection
• Sinus infection
• Skin infection
• Bone and joint infection
• Intra-abdominal infection
• Infectious diarrhea
• Typhoid fever
• Inhalational anthrax
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about a third of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are “unnecessary.” Over 25 million Americans receive a prescription for a fluoroquinolone antibiotic like Noroxin, Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox each year. Public health officials note that the widespread use of the drugs makes them a significant concern.
Although fluoroquinolones like Cipro can be effective treatments for infections, alternate drugs or shorter courses should be considered. Patients who have received Cipro treatment should have been warned about a potentially lethal risk to the aorta.
If you or a loved one suffered an aortic dissection or medication-related injury after taking Cipro, 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.