The federal court overseeing hundreds of Levaquin lawsuits and other legal claims involving fluoroquinolone antibiotics and peripheral neuropathy has set a date for Science Day. The event will allow plaintiffs and defendants to bring the Court up to speed on the medical and scientific issues central to the litigation.
At least 600 product liability claims have been centralized in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, all of which were filed on behalf of individuals who developed peripheral neuropathy and permanent nerve damage allegedly related to the use of Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox. Plaintiffs claim that the drugs’ manufacturers knew for years that fluoroquinolone antibiotics had the potential to cause this debilitating condition, but neglected to provide doctors and patients with adequate warnings to this effect.
According to a Pretrial Order dated October 26th, the litigation’s Science Day will be held on January 17, 2017. The parties have been asked to address the background of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including their risks, benefits, mechanism of action and alternative treatments, as well as the existing science and studies linking antibiotics to peripheral neuropathy. The presentations will follow a lecture format, and will be given by physicians and scientists chosen by each side. The presenters will not be sworn in, nor will they be subject to cross examination. PowerPoint versions of the presentations are to be submitted to the Court in advance of Science Day, no later than January 10th.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox are approved to treat a number of bacterial infections. However, they are also associated with many debilitating and potentially permanent side effects, including peripheral neuropathy. This past May, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the drugs should not be used to treat certain uncomplicated infections when alternative treatments are available, as their risks outweigh their benefits. The labels’ black box warning was also updated with information to this effect.
Peripheral neuropathy was first noted on the labeling of all fluoroquinolones in 2004. However, in August 2013, the FDA ordered that the labeling be revised, after it determined that they did not adequately reflect the possible rapid onset of peripheral neuropathy symptoms, or the potential for permanent nerve damage.