Product News and Recalls

FDA Warns That Some Antibiotics May Cause Severe Nerve Damage

An antibiotic class known as fluoroquinolones has been linked to serious nerve damage when taken orally or by injection. The condition is known as peripheral neuropathy. It can be severe, comes on suddenly, and may be permanent. A story posted on WebMD details how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) elevated the warnings regarding these drugs and their potential adverse effects.

Fluoroquinolones are commonly used antibiotics. They are frequently used for the treatment of respiratory infections and urinary tract infections. Brand-name drugs in this family of antibiotics include Cipro, Factive, Levaquin, Avelox, Noroxin, and Floxin. These drugs are so widely used that a total of 23 million patients were prescribed one in 2011.

Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves that transmit signals to and from the central nervous system to other parts of the body. Symptoms of the damage are seen relatively quickly following the start of treatment with antibiotics. Even if treatment with the antibiotics is ended, the condition may remain permanently. Beginning signs of the damage include numbness, weakness, burning, shooting pains, or tingling.

Fluoroquinolones received a black box warning in 2008. Black bock warnings are the most severe warnings that can be administered by the FDA and are reserved for the most serious risks. The initial black boxed warning was for the risk of tendon damage and rupture associated with the antibiotics.

Although the risk of peripheral neuropathy has been known since 2004 and has been listed as a side effect in antibiotic labels, the new warnings explicitly stress the dangers of nerve damage that may be permanent.

If you or a loved one is experiencing peripheral neuropathy following use of antibiotics, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the manufacturer. Contact an antibiotic lawyer at Lopez McHugh for a free initial consultation.