Avelox, Levaquin Linked to Nerve Damage Risk for DiabeticsJanuary 6, 2015 — Patients with type-2 diabetes who take certain antibiotics, such as Avelox and Levaquin, should be aware of the risk of peripheral neuropathy, a permanent type of nerve damage.

Unfortunately, type-2 diabetes itself is a risk-factor for peripheral neuropathy — also known as diabetic neuropathy. It is the most common complication of diabetes, estimated to eventually afflict 60-70% of all people with diabetes.

Diabetic neuropathy is caused by chronic high blood-sugar levels and leads to numbness, decreased sensation, and sometimes constant pain in the feet, legs, or hands.

According to one study involving 80,000 diabetic patients on antibiotics, patients on Cipro and Levaquin were more likely to suffer from problems maintaining blood sugar levels.

Other recent studies have found links between antibiotics and nerve damage. In September 2014, a study published in Neurology found a doubled increased risk of peripheral neuropathy associated with the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, especially new users.

In August 2013, the FDA issued a Safety Communication to strengthen warnings about the risk of peripheral neuropathy associated with antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone class, including Levaquin, Cipro, and Avelox. The FDA warned that nerve damage could occur within days and cause permanent side effects:

“It can occur at any time during treatment with fluoroquinolones and can last for months to years after the drug is stopped or be permanent. Patients using fluoroquinolones who develop any symptoms of peripheral neuropathy should tell their health care professionals right away.”

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