Close to half of all hospital patients are prescribed antibiotic drugs like Levaquin, which may put them at an unnecessary risk of serious side effects and increase the risk of drug-resistant pathogens, according to the findings of a new study. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that many antibiotic drugs, like Levaquin, are prescribed to hospital patients as a preventative method, despite the patients showing no signs of infection, and despite the potential risk for serious side effects from certain antibiotic drugs. If you have taken the antibiotic drug Levaquin, and you have since suffered from peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a product liability lawyer who has experience handling Levaquin nerve damage claims.
In the survey, the researchers analyzed 11,282 patients from 183 hospitals in 10 states between May and September 2011, and found that 49.9% of patients reported being given at least one antibiotic drug during their hospital stay. Furthermore, approximately one-third of the patients were prescribed two antibiotics, 12.1% received three antibiotics, and 5.4% were given four different antibiotic medications. Despite the widespread use of antibiotic drugs among hospital patients, the researchers found that only 77.5% of the patients studied actually exhibited signs of an infection. Another 12.2% were prescribed an antibiotic following surgery, and there was no documented reason for why 7% of the patients were given antibiotics. According to the CDC researchers, Levaquin, Vancocin, Rocephin and Zocyn, or their generic equivalents, were the four antibiotics most commonly prescribed in the hospitals studied.
This isn’t the first study to document the over-prescription of antibiotic medications among hospital patients. In September, researchers found that hospitals across the United States are increasingly treating illnesses with several different antibiotic drugs at the same time, thereby increasing the patients’ risk of experiencing infections in the future. Last year, researchers involved in another study found that, despite numerous warnings about the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, many healthcare professionals were still over-prescribing and generally misusing antibiotic drugs. Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that six out of every 10 patients who complain of a sore throat are treated with an antibiotic, despite the fact that antibiotic drugs are only an effective treatment in one out of every 10 cases.
Some say that the main reason doctors appear to be over-prescribing antibiotic drugs like Levaquin is because they themselves are often misled about the safety of the medications. Not only can antibiotic drug overuse result in the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria, but studies have shown that some antibiotic medications themselves can put patients at risk for serious side effects. The use of Levaquin, for example, has been linked to an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage, and a growing number of Levaquin nerve damage lawsuits are being filed against Johnson & Johnson as a result of this risk. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of Levaquin or another potentially dangerous drug, contact a reputable Levaquin lawyer today to discuss your legal options.