Fluoroquinolone Study Reveals Double Risk of Peripheral Neuropathy

In September 2014, a study published in the journal of Neurology, University of British Columbia researcher, Dr. Mahyar Etminan, PharmD proves a scientific link between fluoroquinolones and peripheral neuropathy (PN). PN is a potentially painful condition that occurs when nerves are damaged, resulting in weakness, numbing or pain, usually in the face, hands or feet. It can also affect other parts of the body. The symptoms can also include muscle twitching, and hypersensitivity to touch. Sensations of tingling, buzzing, electrical zaps and burning in the extremities can also occur. PN can be permanent even after discontinuation of fluoroquinolone. PN can be debilitating.

Commonly prescribed fluoroquinolones include brand-name antibiotics Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin), and Avelox (moxifloxacin). Manufacturers of these drugs were required to add black box warnings for the risk of tendonitis and tendon rupture in 2008. In 2013, the FDA required a label change addressing the risk of PN after releasing a communication to the public.

Previously PN was connected with type 2 diabetes.

The study completed by a joint British Columbia and United States research team followed a group of males ages 45 to 80 years in the US from 2001 to 2011. Each case was matched to 4 controls. The researchers found that current users are at a higher risk of developing PN. New users of fluoroquinolone were found to be at the highest risk. The study indicates that almost half the reported cases of PN resulting from the use of fluoroquinolones occurred in older men. The study did not include women, but Dr. Etminan stated that the researchers do not think the risk differs in women.

Dr. Etminan explained that antibiotics work in different ways. Fluoroquinolones are designed to change the DNA of bacteria that cause infection. Etminan thinks it may be possible that this line of medicines is changing human DNA also. These are highly potent antibiotics. Dr. Etminan suggests that prescribing other types of antibiotics may be more appropriate.

Prior litigation targeted fluoroquinolone manufacturers for failure to warn of the side effects of tendonitis and tendon rupture. New actions are being filed in US courts; the most recent case filed in Maryland related to damage caused by Levaquin. Physicians wrote more than 20 million prescriptions for Cipro in 2010. In the US, Cipro is the 35th-most commonly prescribed drug; it ranked the 5th most prescribed antibiotic.

If you use or have used any fluoroquinolone and have suffered any of the serious side effects discussed here, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The attorneys associated with Jacoby & Meyers are qualified to assist you in evaluating your case. An attorney experienced in litigation can help you file your lawsuit and protect your rights within the statute of limitations allowed by the law.

Please call 800-977-5614 to contact our defective drug lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. Jacoby & Meyers has offices nationwide.

Toni Zeller Kohlbeck, student intern Jacoby & Meyers.