If you have had a bacterial infection, your doctor may have told you to take Levaquin, a powerful prescription antibiotic. You’re not alone – Levaquin was the most popular antibiotic in America in 2010. But the antibiotic may have left you with far more than an infection. Many people who have taken Levaquin are now facing severe pain and long-term or even permanent nerve damage.
At John Foy & Associates, we believe that innocent patients shouldn’t have to suffer because profit-hungry drug companies didn’t do enough to make their medicines safe or warn people of the risks. Our law firm has a long history of fighting for the rights of injured people, including people who were injured by medicine that was supposed to make them better. If you believe you may have nerve damage from taking Levaquin, we’d like to talk to you and explain how we may be able to help. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is Levaquin?
Levaquin, also known as Levofloxacin, is an antibiotic. If you have a bacterial infection, Levaquin fights the infection by attacking the bacteria’s DNA, preventing DNA cells from reattaching and growing. When they aren’t able to reattach themselves, the bacterial cells die. Because Levaquin kills bacteria rather than just stopping its growth, it can effectively treat serious infections that do not respond well to other types of antibiotics.
Levaquin is a member of a group of drugs known as fluoroquinalones. These types of drugs were originally developed in the 1960s, but they weren’t available to the public until the late 1980s, when doctors began prescribing them to treat urinary tract infections. Levaquin is one of the newer drugs in the class, having received FDA approval in 1996. Today, fluoroquinalones are widely prescribed to treat many types of infections, including bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, anthrax, typhoid fever, skin infections and infectious diarrhea.
What kind of nerve damage does Levaquin cause?
Levaquin causes peripheral neuropathy, which is another way of saying that it damages the vast network of nerves that send signals from your brain to your body. The effect that Levaquin has on the nervous system is twofold: it affects your motor nerves AND your sensory nerves. The results of this one-two punch can be devastating.
Motor nerves are the ones you rely on to control your movements – everything from walking and running to gripping a fork and raising your arm to wave hello. When motor nerves are damaged, you may feel:
- Atrophy, or your muscles getting smaller
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle twitching
Sensory nerves have a variety of purposes, including controlling your sense of touch. If you have sensory nerve damage, you may feel:
- Sudden sharp or burning pains
- Extreme touch sensitivity
- A loss of sensation, such as not being able to feel pain or temperature changes
- Diminished reflexes
- Loss of coordination
The nerve damage can leave you in chronic pain, barely able to walk. It can come on suddenly, within days of taking the medication, and it can last for a year or longer. Nerve damage can take a heavy toll on your life, leading to depression and other mental health issues. An inability to feel pain can be dangerous and prevent you from getting treatment for illnesses and injuries. It’s a big price to pay, especially if you took Levaquin just to get rid of a minor illness.
Who makes Levaquin, and do they know it’s dangerous?
Levaquin is manufactured by Ortho-McNeill-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is a Johnson & Johnson company. The manufacturer is well aware of the drug’s dangers – in fact cases of nerve damage were being documented before Levaquin even received FDA approval in 1996.
Peripheral Neuropathy was listed as a potential side effect in the early 2000s, and scholarly journals reported on cases of nerve damage, but the manufacturers of fluoroquinalones brushed these aside as a rare occurrence. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Food and Drug Administration stepped in and required a warning label on Levaquin, stating that it has been shown to cause nerve damage. In fact, in that year Levofloxin ranked number 3 out of all drugs in the number of adverse events reported to the FDA
In 2016, the FDA issued a stronger warning and a new recommendation, advising doctors not to prescribe Levaquin for run of the mill infections that could be treated with a safer drug. The potential risks, it said, outweigh any benefits.
Who is liable for my nerve damage?
When a manufacturer puts profits ahead of safety and makes and sells a drug that causes dangerous side effects, the manufacturer can be held liable. Many lawsuits have been filed against the makers of Levaquin and related drugs like Avelox and Cipro. Most make several claims:
- The manufacturer knew the drug was unsafe but did not do enough to warn doctors or the public of the dangers.
- The manufacturer hid the facts about the dangers of the drug and misled both doctors and the public.
- The manufacturer continued to promote the drug as an effective treatment for minor bacterial infections, even though it knew there were other, safer options.
If the manufacturer is found liable for your nerve damage, you are entitled to recover all of your costs, including your medical bills, lost pay from your job, and money for the overall impact your condition has had on your life. Money won’t give you your life back, but it is the only way our legal system can help you put your life back together and hold drug companies accountable.
Talk to a Levaquin Nerve Damage Lawsuit Lawyer
If you took Levaquin and you now have symptoms of nerve damage, we’d like to hear about it. Our law firm is one of the most respected personal injury firms and the country, and we have the experience and resources to stand up to big pharmaceutical companies. You shouldn’t have to suffer just because you took the medicine your doctor prescribed. Let us give you a FREE consultation – we’ll never charge a fee unless we win you money. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.