Update: Fluoroquinolone MDL Moving Forward in Minnesota
March 22, 2017 – Product liability lawsuits alleging peripheral neuropathy from Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox are moving forward in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, with at least 10 bellwether cases being prepped for trial. Per a recent update, there are at least 738 lawsuits pending in the fluoroquinolone multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2642), most of which involve Levaquin.
What is Cipro?
Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is an FDA-approved prescription medication used to treat infections of the skin, lungs, airways, bones and joints caused by susceptible bacteria. The drug works by killing the bacteria that cause infections. It does this by entering the bacterial cells and inhibiting DNA-gyrase, a bacterial enzyme involved in replicating and repairing the genetic material (DNA) of the bacteria. Ciprofloxacin is available under the brand names Cipro, Cipro XR and Proquin XR (brand discontinued in 2012).
Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic List
In addition to Cipro, other antibiotic drugs in the fluoroquinolone class include:
- Levaquin (levofloxacin)
- Avelox (moxifloxacin)
- Noroxin (norfloxacin)
- Floxin (ofloxacin)
- Factive (gemifloxacin)
Fluoroquinolone Nerve Damage Warning
In 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) required the labeling and medication guides for all fluoroquinolone antibiotics to be updated with explicit warnings about the potential risk of nerve damage associated with the medications. The agency ordered the strengthened warnings after reviewing dozens of adverse event reports describing peripheral neuropathy in fluoroquinolone users. FDA concluded that the “potential rapid onset and permanence” of this side effect was not adequately described in the drugs’ labeling, and required that statements describing the occurrence of peripheral neuropathy as “rare” be removed. The agency warned that patients with symptoms of nerve damage should contact their doctor immediately.
Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms
- Numbness / tingling in the hands and feet
- Sharp, jabbing or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Lack of coordination or falling
- Muscle weakness or paralysis (if motor nerves are affected)
According to studies published online in JAMA Internal Medicine and BMJ Open, fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro may cause aortic aneurysms and aortic dissection, both of which can result in death from internal bleeding if left untreated.
Evidence suggests that fluoroquinolones can degrade collagen, which weakens not only tendons but also the aortic wall. The researchers who conducted the BMJ study stated that the types of collagen that “comprise the majority of collagen in the Achilles tendon…also comprise the majority (80-90%) of collagen in the aorta.”
The research identified a more than double increased risk of aortic aneurysm in patients 65 and older who took a fluoroquinolone compared to those who took amoxicillin, a different kind of antibiotic.
The JAMA study found a more than 2-fold increased rate of aortic aneurysm/dissection associated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
”[a]ortic dissection and aortic aneurysm are major life-threatening diseases worldwide.” ”Epidemiology studies show that mortality from aortic aneurysm and dissection has risen over the past decades in many developed countries,” the authors wrote. ”[A]ortic aneurysm has become the 13th leading cause of death, claiming an estimated 15 000 deaths annually in the United States.” The authors conjecture that the rapid increase in the fluoroquinolone use may contribute to the rise in mortality from these events.
Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms
- Tearing pain in the chest, abdomen, and/or middle of the back between the shoulder blades
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
If an aneurysm has ruptured, it may cause:
- Loss of consciousness
- Heart attack
Cipro Side Effects
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Aortic aneurism
- Aortic dissection
- Collagen disorders
- Muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)
- Tendon ruptures
- Central nervous system disorders (tremors, restlessness, lightheadedness and confusion)
- Hypersensitivity reactions (loss of consciousness, cardiovascular collapse)
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Life-threatening skin reactions
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN)
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)
- Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (diarrhea caused by overgrowth of the bacterium C. difficile)
- And more
Has a Class Action Been Filed?
To date, no class action lawsuit has been filed over injuries allegedly caused by Cipro use. However, in 2001, a class action was advanced on behalf of government and post office employees who were prescribed the drug after being potentially exposed to anthrax. The litigation was dismissed in 2004.
Cipro Should Only Be Used As Last Resort, FDA Warns
July 26, 2016 – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) today announced new, stronger warnings about the potentially disabling and permanent side effects associated with Cipro and other commonly prescribed antibiotics from the fluoroquinolone class. The medications are intended only for serious infections like sepsis, blood infections, and infections resistant to conventional drugs. However, over the years, they have been increasingly prescribed to treat less serious infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and less-complicated urinary tract infections.
Do I Have a Cipro Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Cipro lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you were harmed by Cipro or another fluoroquinolone antibiotic, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.