Research shows the antibiotic ciprofloxacin—sold primarily under the brand name Cipro, but also as Ciflox, Ciloxan, Baycip, Ciproxin, Prociflor, Ciprex, and Proquin—causes tendon breaks and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
What Is Cipro? When Is It Prescribed?
Cipro is the brand name for the drug ciprofloxacin. Made and sold by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG, this prescription medication is used to treat several life-threatening bacterial infections, though infrequently as a first-line treatment.
Bayer obtained a patent for ciprofloxacin in the early 1980s and introduced the drug in both Europe and the United States in 1987. The patent expired in 2003, allowing other pharmaceutical companies to create generic equivalents, which several did even though by then many bacteria strains had built up a resistance to ciprofloxacin. Bayer had found a winner in Cipro, selling $1.04 billion of the drug by 1999. Bayer also sold the federal government 100 million Cipro tablets during the 2001 anthrax scare; even at a reduced price, this still brought Bayer $204 per person treated over a 60-day period.
Cipro is a broad-spectrum fluoroquinolone antibiotic, meaning that it can be used against many different bacteria strains. Broad-spectrum antibiotics effectively combat undetermined life-threatening bacterial infections (such as meningitis) and symptoms caused by multiple concurrent bacterial infections. Cipro functions by disrupting DNA replication and cell division within bacteria.
Potential Side Effects Include Broken Tendons and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
Like many other fluoroquinolones, Cipro use correlates to muscle injuries, especially in tendons, the muscle tissue that binds muscles together. It also causes a horrible life-threatening skin condition known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. As of 2008, the FDA had received reports of 262 tendon ruptures, 259 cases of tendonitis, and 274 other tendon disorders related to fluoroquinolones. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome causes its victims to develop blisters in their mucus membranes and often severe skin peeling. The disease’s fatality rates fall between 25% and 80%.
But the tendon problems caused by Cipro were not only recently discovered. To the contrary, medical studies had determined that existing fluoroquinolones caused muscle disorders back in the early 1970s. In 1995, the year before it approved Cipro, the FDA claimed it would require all fluoroquinolone manufacturers to update their packaging to include warnings about tendon rupture.
The FDA did not act quickly on its promise, however. In 2005 and 2006, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen and the Attorney General of Illinois petitioned the FDA to require a “black box” Cipro warning. In 2008, both petitioners finally sued the FDA to require the Cipro warnings, and on September 8, 2008, the FDA required Bayer and all other ciprofloxacin manufacturers to include a black box warning on packages of Cipro, informing the public of side effects that the drug causes.
In August 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication advising the public that it was requiring a label change to Cipro and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics to “better describe the serious side effect of peripheral neuropathy,” which is the medical term for potentially permanent nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy can occur soon after Cipro treatment begins. It is associated with oral and injectable fluoroquinolones but not topical formulations of the drugs that are applied to the eyes and ears.
There are fears that Cipro is over-prescribed and is now no longer effective because bacteria have developed resistances to it. Indeed, fluoroquinolones are among the most prescribed antibiotics in the United States even though the FDA requires that they be used only as a therapy of last resort. Frequently, they are even used for conditions they aren’t approved for.
RLG’s Lawyers Will Make Things Easier
The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group believe that obtaining legal satisfaction from those who harmed you shouldn’t require more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process, and we will file a Cipro lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
If you have taken Cipro and believe it harmed you, contact RLG today.