Antibiotics are often seen as harmless drugs – something taken to quickly “knock” an illness out of you or even used as a precaution to avoid a full-blown illness. There's no denying antibiotics have saved lives, but there is growing concern the side effects from certain classes of antibiotics are putting users at serious risk.
One antibiotic receiving attention for serious side effects is Levaquin, which is a brand of fluoroquinolone. Levaquin is used to treat bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, salmonella, staph, urinary tract infections, and a wide range of other bacterial infections. The most common risks associated with the medication involve muscles, tendons, joints, and the central nervous system. The complications that arise from using the medication are potentially permanent and can occur in combination, wreaking havoc on the health and well-being of the user.
Concerns about Levaquin were severe enough the US FDA took action and now requires all fluoroquinolone drugs to include a lengthy warning label listing the risks associated with using the drug, one of which includes the development of peripheral neuropathy.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves malfunction because of damage or destruction that interfere with normal functioning. Sometimes this causes pain signals to occur when nothing is painful, or the opposite, in which no pain signal is sent if something is harmful. A common example is when someone with diabetes develops peripheral neuropathy that causes them to not feel pain associated with a wound that then develops into serious infections.
Peripheral neuropathy can affect one of the three peripheral nervous systems, including sensory, motor, and autonomic nerves, or any combination of the three. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
• Sharp, stabbing pains
• Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
• Feelings of tightness in the hands and feet
• Buzzing or shocking sensations
• Thinning of the skin
• Weak, heavy feelings in the arms and legs
• Inability to hold objects without dropping them
• Sexual dysfunction, primarily in men
• Lowered blood pressure
• Digestive difficult and distress, including diarrhea or constipation
• Excessive sweating
Experienced alone, some of these symptoms don't appear to be all that serious, but when combined and experienced over time, they can significantly impact a person's quality of life.
Levaquin Contains Fluoride
Levaquin and all fluoroquinolones contain fluoride, which is a neurotoxin with the ability to enter the brain and damage the central nervous system. Some fluoroquinolones have already been removed from the market and those that remain have long black box warnings concerning the various risks. You can see the label for Levaquin here.
In addition to the risks Levaquin poses for peripheral neuropathy and muscle damage, some users have reported other symptoms, including visual difficulties, renal system issues, nausea and diarrhea, hearing problems, brain fog, skin rashes, depression, and disruptions to blood sugar metabolism. Some of these are included on the drug's warning label.
Legal Action Taken Against Levaquin Manufacturer
There is growing effort within the legal community and here at Andrus Wagstaff to investigate claims on behalf of patients who allegedly developed peripheral neuropathy and other health problems after using Levaquin. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Levaquin. Plaintiffs in these cases claim the drug company was aware of the link between Levaquin and peripheral neuropathy years before it became public knowledge, but opted not to inform doctors or patients about the risk.