Research shows the antibiotic levofloxacin—sold under the brand name Levaquin, as well as Tavanic outside the U.S. (or Oftaquix, Quixin, and Iquix in eye drops or eardrops, and oral solutions)—causes sudden tendon ruptures and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
The Rottenstein Law Group compassionately advocates for those who have suffered from the harmful side effects of potentially dangerous drugs. If you’ve taken Levaquin and believe it harmed you, contact RLG for a free, confidential legal consultation immediately. We will evaluate your case and remain on the lookout for Levaquin recalls and Levaquin class action lawsuits. We might be the Levaquin law firm you are looking for.
What Is Levaquin, and What Is It Prescribed For?
Levaquin is a brand name for the drug levofloxacin. Developed by Daiichi Sankyo, the Japanese pharmaceutical giant licensed the patent to Sanofi-Aventis outside the U.S. and to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) domestically via its subsidiary Ortho-McNeil. This prescription medication is used to treat severe and even life-threatening bacterial infections, including those that are resistant to other antibiotics.
European patent authorities granted the first levofloxacin patent in 1987, and on December 20, 1996, the FDA approved it for sale in the United States. Since then it has been sold in multiple forms such as oral tablets in 250mg, 500 mg, and 750mg doses, intravenously in 5mg/mL and 25 mg/mL, and eye, ear, and oral droplet solutions at 0.5% concentration.
Levaquin is a broad-spectrum fluoroquinolone antibiotic, meaning 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. Levaquin functions by disrupting DNA replication and cell division within bacteria. The drug is expensive and there are many cheaper and more effective antibiotics available.
Johnson & Johnson depends on Levaquin sales as the drug was responsible for 6.5% of the company’s total revenue at $1.4 billion in 2007. Since 2005, though, controversies have eroded consumer confidence in Levaquin. Consequently, in July 2009, the FDA placed a “black box warning,” the agency’s most serious alert, on Levaquin. There are no known efforts to issue a Levaquin recall or ban the drug, but according to Bloomberg Businessweek as of January 2012 thousands of harmed users had filed Levaquin lawsuits against J&J and other manufacturers. All federal level Levaquin lawsuits are consolidated into a single multidistrict litigation proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota before District Judge John R. Tunheim. By January 2012, Johnson & Johnson had won two out of three Levaquin bellwether trials. It lost the first in December 2010 to a Minnesota man whom the jury awarded $1.8 million in compensation. In October 2011, it won a state-based Levaquin lawsuit in New Jersey.
Levaquin Might Cause Life-Threatening Side Effects
On September 8, 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required Ortho-McNeil to include a “black box” warning on packages of Levaquin, informing the public of side effects the drug causes. Like many other fluoroquinolones, Levaquin 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 reported 262 tendon ruptures, 259 cases of tendonitis, and 274 other tendon disorders. 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%.
Sadly the tendon problems caused by Levaquin are not the results of new research. To the contrary, medical studies determined that existing fluoroquinolones caused muscle disorders back in the early 1970s. In 1995, the year before it approved Levaquin, the FDA claimed it would require fluoroquinolone manufacturers to update their packaging to include Levaquin warnings about tendon rupture, but it did not do so.
The FDA did not act quickly on its promise. In 2005 and 2006, a consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, and the Attorney General of Illinois petitioned the FDA to require a black box Levaquin warning. In 2008, both petitioners finally sued the FDA to require the Levaquin warnings, and in September of that year it finally did so.
In August 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication advising the public that it was requiring a label-change to Levaquin 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 Levaquin 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.
Levaquin lawsuits number in the thousands. On June 13, 2008, a Judicial Panel consolidated the Levaquin proceedings to Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. Recently one Levaquin lawsuit resulted in a $1.8 million damage award to the plaintiff. The Rottenstein Law Group does not know of any Levaquin recalls at this time, but at least one Levaquin class action lawsuit is pending against Ortho-McNeill in Texas.
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 Levaquin 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 Levaquin lawsuit on your behalf if necessary. RLG will also keep you up to date on any Levaquin class action lawsuits, FDA Levaquin warnings, and Levaquin FDA recall announcements.
If you have taken Levaquin and believe it harmed you, contact RLG today.