Levaquin is a broad spectrum antibiotic, which means that it’s used to treat a long list of bacterial infections and is also approved for treatment of bronchitis and pneumonia. It was developed by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals. Levaquin belongs in the fluroquinolone class of drugs. It is used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, sinuses, kidneys, bladder, or prostate. It has also been prescribed to people who have been exposed to anthrax or plague.

The FDA originally approved Levaquin in its current brand name in 1996. After a few years on the market, Levaquin began to be linked to serious side effects.

After more than 12 years on the market, Levaquin had generated a high enough number of negative incidents that were reported to the FDA to warrant action. In July of 2008, the FDA issued a statement that it was ordering the makers of Levaquin to place a black box warning on the label about associated risks.

The fluroquinolone class has been associated with ruptured tendons and tendinitis. In 2011, healthcare experts had attributed 60 percent of all tendon injuries in the United States to the use of Levaquin. Ruptures of the Achilles tendon, hand, shoulder or other tendons requiring surgical treatment have been reported.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats
  • Sudden pain, snapping or popping sound, bruising, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or loss of movement in any of your joints
  • Diarrhea that is watery or bloody
  • Confusion, hallucinations, depression, tremors, feeling restless or anxious, unusual thoughts or behavior, insomnia, nightmares, seizure (convulsions)
  • Severe headache, ringing in your ears, nausea, vision problems, pain behind your eyes
  • Pale skin, fever, weakness, easy bruising or bleeding
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Numbness, burning pain, or tingly feeling in your hands or feet
  • The first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild
  • Severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Mild diarrhea, constipation, vomiting
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Mild headache or dizziness
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
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