When you are sick with a bacterial infection, you probably take the antibiotic prescribed by your doctor to eliminate the infection. You have probably taken antibiotics numerous times throughout your life, so you trust that your prescription will do its job, allowing you to get back on your feet faster.
While antibiotics generally cause more good than harm, one class of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, has caused disabling side effects to some of its users. This has prompted several FDA warnings about the medication, as well as a recent citizen petition asking for the FDA to release additional warnings.
What are fluoroquinolones?
Fluoroquinolones are a class of antibiotics that includes Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox, as well as their generic forms. These antibiotics can be prescribed for infections of the prostate, stomach or urinary tract. They are also commonly prescribed for bacterial pneumonia, as well as other types of complicated infections.
Fluoroquinolones may be an appropriate choice in certain circumstances, such as situations when someone has an infection that is difficult to target with other antibiotics. However, due to the potential for serious side effects, many believe this class of antibiotic is being prescribed too often. Many also believe that doctors and patients should be more aware of the potential risks before choosing it as a treatment.
What are some possible risks associated with fluoroquinolones?
Not everyone who takes fluoroquinolones experiences side effects, but many of the potential side effects are life-altering. Some known side effects that are possible with this type of antibiotic include:
- Harm to tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system
- Sudden drops in blood pressure
- Trouble balancing
- Memory loss
- Tears or ruptures in the heart
- Difficulty paying attention
The citizen petition aims to have hearing, vision and nervous system disabilities added to the list of possible side effects that the FDA warns about. The petition also aims to draw attention to the psychiatric issues, like suicide, that allegedly can be caused by the medication.
Those who manufacture and sell medications have an obligation to make sure that the product is safe. If you or a loved one experiences some of the disabling side effects of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, it may be appropriate to explore your legal options. Legal justice may not reverse the damage, but financial compensation can help make it more affordable to live with the side effects.