Cipro Aortic Aneurysm

Recent studies have suggested that fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro may be associated with an increased risk of aortic aneurysm. If an aortic aneurysm bursts, patients have only a 50% chance of survival.

Fluoroquinolone Overuse

Fluoroquinolones like Cipro are some of the most widely-used drugs in the world, and currently make up about 16.6 percent of the world market for antibiotics. However, it’s become obvious that these medications are frequently over-prescribed for minor issues like earaches and sinusitis, even though they are indicated only for serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia.

Fluoroquinolones are powerful medications. But they are also associated with some very serious side effects, including tendon ruptures, peripheral neuropathy and heart rhythm problems. In 2016, the labels for Cipro and other fluoroquinolones were updated with a new Black Box Warning stating that their risks outweighed their benefits for patients suffering from certain uncomplicated infections when other treatment options were available. The label update followed a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) review that raised concern about debilitating, and often permanent, side effects associated with the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Read More

Studies of Fluoroquinolones and Aortic Aneurysm

In 2015, two studies linked the use of fluoroquinolones like Cipro to aortic aneurysm.

  • October 2015: Research published in JAMA: Internal Medicine found that current use of fluoroquinolones was associated with a roughly 2-fold increase in the risk of aortic aneurysm within 60 days of exposure. The study drew data from pool of 1,477 patients hospitalized for aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection from 2000 through 2011. Each of those cases was compared to 100 controls who were not hospitalized for these complications. Read More
  • November 2015: Canadian researchers writing in the British Medical Journal reported that people treated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics might face a three-fold increase risk of aortic aneurysm. Of the 1.7 million patients involved in the study, a third had received a fluoroquinolone. The study team surmised that reducing unnecessary use of the drugs could have possibly prevented more than 200 aortic aneurysm among the patients included in the study.

What is an Aortic Aneurysm?

An aortic aneurysm occurs when the wall of the aorta stretches or bulges. The aorta is the body’s main artery, and carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Excessive bleeding will occur if the aneurysm bursts, potentially leading to death.

An aortic aneurysm can be either abdominal (in the stomach area), or thoracic (In the upper body). Abdominal aortic aneurysms are the most common.

It’s not unusual for an aortic aneurysm to be asymptomatic. Sometimes, they are detected during medical tests. In patients with symptoms, the signs of an aortic aneurysm can be vague, and may include belly, chest, or back pain and discomfort. These symptoms may be intermittent or constant.

Symptoms associated with abdominal aortic aneurysm may include:

  • Chest, abdomen, lower back, or flank pain that may spread to the groin, buttocks, or leg. The pain may last for hours or days, and it may be deep, aching, gnawing, and/or throbbing.
  • A pulsating feeling in the abdomen.
  • Sensation of a “cold foot,” or a painful toe that is black and blue. This indicates that the aneurysm caused a blood clot that has broken free and traveled to the leg.
  • Fever or weight loss in the case of an inflammatory aortic aneurysm.

The symptoms of a thoracic aneurysm might consist of:

  • Chest pain
  • Back pain
  • Cough or shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing

If an aneurysm ruptures, a patient will suffer:

  • Severe pain
  • Extreme drop in blood pressure
  • Signs of shock

Legal Help for Victims of Cipro Aortic Aneurysm

Cipro users who suffered an aortic aneurysm while using this antibiotic may be eligible for compensation. To learn more about filing a Cipro lawsuit, please call (888) 994-5118 to discuss your case with an attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP.

  1. FDA (2015) “Fluoroquinolone Antimicrobial Drugs Information”
  2. JAMA Internal Medicine (2015) “Risk of Aortic Dissection and Aortic Aneurysm in Patients Taking Oral Fluoroquinolone”
  3. BMJ (2015) “Fluoroquinolones and collagen associated severe adverse events: a longitudinal cohort study”
  4. Web MD (2014) “Aortic Aneurysm-Symptoms”
Last Modified: June 16, 2016

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