Levaquin, or levofloxacin, belongs to a class of medications known as fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Marketed by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Levaquin was first approved for U.S. sale in 1996. The drug is now used by millions of Americans every year to treat bacterial infections ranging from urinary tract infections to respiratory illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis. Before the first generic versions of levofloxacin were approved, Levaquin generated $1.3 billion in annual sales for Johnson & Johnson.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the risks associated with Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including serious complications affecting the nerves, muscles, tendons and central nervous system, make it too dangerous for patients with certain uncomplicated infections. According to an alert issued in May 2016, the medication should be restricted in those patients unless other treatments are not an option. The drugs’ will be updated with a new boxed warning. Read More
People who take Levaquin should be aware of the drug’s potential complications, and contact their doctor should they experience any of the following problems:
By 2012, more than 3,400 Levaquin lawsuits had been filed on behalf of plaintiffs who allegedly experienced tendon damage due to its use. These included about 1,900 cases that had been filed in a federal multidistrict litigation in the District of Minnesota, and another 1,500 in New Jersey Superior Court. By May 2014, all but about 340 of those claims had been settled.
As of July 2015, dozens of Levaquin lawsuits and other fluoroquinolone cases had been filed in U.S. courts on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered permanent nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy related to their use of the antibiotics. All of the plaintiffs involved in these cases accuse the drugs’ manufacturers of failing to adequately warn patients and doctors about these possible complications.
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