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By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

Published on March 20, 2017

Aortic aneurysms and dissections have been linked to popular prescription drugs Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox. These drugs are very strong antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. They are often prescribed to patients with common infections like urinary tract infections, bronchitis, and sinusitis. Recent large studies of fluoroquinolones have shown significantly increased risk of serious aortic injuries. New warnings approved by the FDA have changed the labeling of these drugs to make it clear “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 a class of strong antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. More than 26 million Americans are prescribed a fluoroquinolone drug every year. On May 12, 2016 the FDA issued safety labeling changes to fluoroquinolone drugs  strongly discouraging the use of these antibiotics in uncomplicated infections. Finding the risks outweigh the benefits, the FDA recommended medical professionals avoid prescribing fluoroquinolones for sinusitis, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and gynecological infections, unless there are absolutely no other treatment options.

Commonly prescribed fluoroquinolones are ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Cipro XR, Proquin XR); levofloxacin (Levaquin) and moxifloxacin (Avelox).

Aortic Dissection and Aneurysms

The aorta begins in the left ventricle of the heart and goes down into the abdomen, where it branches into two smaller arteries. Studies link fluoroquinolones to damage to the lining of the aorta. A tear in the aortic wall is called an aortic dissection. A weakness or a bulge where the aorta has become weak or thin is called an aortic aneurysm. Both conditions can lead to leaking or a burst aorta, both of  which can be fatal.

Studies Link Fluoroquinolones and Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections

A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study published 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 aneurysm was almost tripled. That study concluded that reducing fluoroquinolone prescriptions or prolonged courses of treatment might have prevented more than 200 aneurysms.

What can you do?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with aortic dissection or aneurysm after being prescribed Cipro, Levaquin, or Avelox, you may have a claim for damages. Contact the defective drug lawyers 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. Like all legal claims, defective drug claims are subject to short time limits to file. Do not delay seeking legal advice.