The woman, Andrea Siani of Concord, Massachusetts, says she took Levaquin for nine days before her arms went numb, a symptom of peripheral neuropathy. She said, “That night I woke up around midnight, and it felt like flames were coming out of my elbows.”
She now has a hard time getting around her house, can’t run errands, or go shopping for food.
Some doctors believe that the risk of nerve damage is higher for patients who have a genetic predisposition to be a poor metabolizer of the drug.
Unfortunately, she was using a generic version of Levaquin (levofloxacin). Thousands of other people who used this medication have developed nerve damage, but only a small percentage who used the brand-name version of the drug are seeking compensation by filing lawsuits.
The manufacturer of Levaquin, Johnson & Johnson, has already settled litigation involving tendon injuries from Levaquin. In August 2014, they were hit with a lawsuit from a woman in California who was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.
The label on Levaquin has carried warnings about nerve damage since 2004, but there was evidence of the side effect throughout the 1990s. One study, published in 2001, concluded that nerve damage from fluoroquinolone antibiotics typically occurred within a few days and 80% of cases were severe.
In August 2013, the FDA issued a Safety Communication to warn that nerve damage from Levaquin could be rapid and severe. Patients on Levaquin should talk to their doctor immediately if they experience symptoms like pain, burning, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, or sensory changes.
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