The Levaquin nerve damage suit brought against Johnson & Johnson comes one year after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the makers of the entire class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, like Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox, to add new warning labels regarding the risk of peripheral neuropathy side effects. The FDA issued the drug safety communication in August 2013, and warned consumers and the medical community that peripheral neuropathy may arise at any time during treatment with Levaquin and similar antibiotic drugs, and may continue for months or even years after use of the medications is discontinued.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition characterized by damage to the nerves that connect the brain and the rest of the body, resulting in symptoms like pain, tingling, burning, weakness, numbness, impaired movement, and a change of sensation to light tough and temperature. According to allegations raised in Grossman’s lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson ignored information about the potential connection between Levaquin and peripheral neuropathy for years, failing to adequately warn consumers and medical professionals about the risk of long-lasting and potentially irreversible nerve damage associated with the antibiotic medication.
“The warning label for Levaquin during the period from September 2004 through August 2013 misled Plaintiff and her treating physician by incorrectly advising patients and physicians that peripheral neuropathy associated with Levaquin use was “rare” and in any case could be avoided by discontinuing the drug upon the onset of certain symptoms,” Grossman’s complaint states. “The truth, however, is that the onset of irreversible peripheral neuropathy is often rapid and discontinuation of the drug will not ensure that the peripheral neuropathy is reversible.”
Although drug makers have claimed that nerve damage from Levaquin and similar fluoroquinolone medications is rare, a growing body of research suggests otherwise. In fact, according to a study published in the journal Neurology in August 2014, patients taking drugs from the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics actually have double the risk of suffering from peripheral neuropathy. Despite of these risks, fluoroquinolones remain some of the most widely used antibiotic drugs in the world, with 23.1 million patients receiving a prescription for an oral fluoroquinolone drug like Levaquin, Cipro or Avelox in 2011. If you took Levaquin in the past, and you have since been diagnosed with nerve damage, contact a knowledgeable Levaquin attorney to discuss your legal options.