Aortic Side Effects From Fluoroquinolones

Widely prescribed antibiotics Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox have been linked with aortic aneurysms and dissections, which are potentially fatal side effects. Fluoroquinolones are very strong antibiotics that are often prescribed for common infections like bronchitis, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections. Recent epidemiologic studies have shown significantly increased risk of serious aortic injuries in patients who have taken fluoroquinolone antibiotics. The FDA issued new warnings changing labeling of these drugs to reflect its advice “that fluoroquinolones should be reserved for these conditions only when there are no other options available due to potentially permanent, disabling side effects occurring together.”

What are Fluoroquinolones?

Fluoroquinolones are the most widely prescribed antibiotics in the United States. More than 26 million Americans are prescribed these antibiotics every year. The FDA Drug Safety Communication issued on May 12, 2016 (reemphasized in a second alert on July 26, 2016) strongly discourages the use of these antibiotics in uncomplicated infections. Finding the risks outweigh the benefits, the FDA recommended medical professionals avoid prescribing fluoroquinolines for sinusitis, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and gynecological infections, unless there are no other treatment options.

The three most often prescribed fluoroquinolones are ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Cipro XR, Proquin XR); levofloxacin (Levaquin) and moxifloxacin (Avelox). Other drugs in this class are very infrequently prescribed: Factive (gemifloxacin), Floxin (ofloxacin) and Noroxin (norfloxacin).

What Are Aortic Dissection and Aneurysms?

The aorta is the main artery of the human body, beginning in the left ventricle of the heart and going down to the abdomen, where it branches into two smaller arteries. The aortic wall is tough, but studies link fluoroquinolones to damage to the lining of the aorta. An aortic dissection is a tear in the aortic wall. An aortic aneurysm is a weakness or a bulge where the aorta has become weak. Both conditions can lead to leaks, or rupture, which can be fatal.

Studies Link Fluoroquinolones and Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2013 found that use of fluoroquinolones was associated with a two-fold increased risk of developing aortic dissection or aneurysm within 60 days of exposure. The study authors advised: “[C]linicians should continue to be vigilant for the appearance of aortic aneurysm and dissection in high-risk patients treated with fluoroquinolones.” The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a subsequent study which found that in over 650,000 patients taking fluoroquinolones, the risk of aortic aneurysms was almost tripled. That study concluded that reducing either fluoroquinolone prescriptions or prolonged courses of treatment might have prevented more than 200 aneurysms in the population studied.

What Can You Do?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with aortic dissection or aneurysm after taking a fluoroquinolone prescription, you may have a claim for damages. Contact the defective drug specialists at Thornton Law Firm for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story using our online contact form.

Trust our Massachusetts Defective Drug Attorneys to Help

Contact the Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick online or at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts defective drug litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.