The antibiotic medication Levaquin (generic: levofloxacin) has been linked to an increased risk for aortic aneurysm, a life-threatening side effect that occurs when a bulge develops in the aorta, an artery that carries oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one suffered an aortic aneurism after taking Levaquin, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
What is Levaquin?
Levaquin belongs to a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones (FLQs) that are used to treat a wide variety of infections. These drugs work by preventing bacteria from reproducing and killing the bacteria that causes infections. In addition to Levaquin, other FLQs include Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Factive (gemifloxacin) and Noroxin (norfloxacin).
Fluoroquinolones Linked to Aortic Aneurism: JAMA Study
An October 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that fluoroquinolone antibiotics may cause the aorta, the main artery in the human body, to become enlarged. If the aorta ruptures, it could cause fatal internal bleeding if surgery is not performed immediately.
For the study, researchers at National Taiwan University’s Department of Emergency Medicine compared 1,477 case patients against a control group of 147,700, with data from the nation’s health insurance database from Jan. 2000-Dec. 2011. All case patients were hospitalized for aortic aneurysm or dissection.
The researchers determined that current fluoroquinolone use increased the risk of aortic aneurysm by more than double. Past use increased the risk by nearly 50%.
“Use of fluoroquinolones was associated with an increased risk of aortic aneurysm and dissection,” the study’s authors concluded. “While these were rare events, physicians should be aware of this possible drug safety risk associated with fluoroquinolone therapy.”
Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms
Aortic aneurisms can occur in the part of the aorta that passes through the middle to low abdomen, or along the portion that passes through the chest cavity (thoracic aortic aneurysm). In many cases, aneurysms cause no symptoms at all. However, when they do present, symptoms may include:
- Tearing pain in the chest, abdomen, and/or middle of the back between the shoulder blades.
- Shortness of breath
- Cough (due to pressure on the lungs and airways)
- Difficulty swallowing (caused by pressure on the esophagus)
If an aneurysm ruptures, it can cause:
- Loss of consciousness
- Heart attack
If you are a Levaquin used who is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. However, you should never switch or stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first.
When an aortic aneurysm is large enough to cause symptoms, the weakened section of the vessel can be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial graft. If the aneurysm is near the aortic valve, valve replacement may also be required.
Aneurysm repair surgery is complicated and requires an experienced surgical stuff. The repair requires open-chest or abdominal surgery, general anesthesia and a hospital stay of at least 5 days. If you had surgery to repair an aneurysm, you should do your best to lead a heart healthy lifestyle. Advanced techniques for repairing abdominal and thoracic aneurysms involve placing a graft without surgery and may benefit high-risk patients.
Do I Have a Levaquin Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Levaquin lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new aortic aneurysm cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you developed an aortic aneurysm from Levaquin, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a lawsuit and we can help.