Avelox Lawsuit | Peripheral Neuropathy Nerve Damage Lawyers
If you are not diabetic, have taken Avelox and now suffer from peripheral neuropathy, contact an Avelox lawyer at Baron & Budd at 866-508-7081 or complete our contact form to see if you qualify for a peripheral neuropathy lawsuit.
Do I Qualify for an Avelox Lawsuit?
Though there have been previous lawsuits filed regarding the connection between Avelox, other fluoroquinolone antibiotics and tendon rupture, our firm is only investigating peripheral neuropathy issues at this time. Also, unfortunately we are only able to accept cases where the patient is not diabetic and has not taken the generic form of the drug. Read more about generic drugs and lawsuits on our blog.
Why File an Avelox Lawsuit?
Peripheral neuropathy can completely change your life. And, sadly, not for the better. Recent studies have revealed that taking a fluoroquinolone drug like Avelox can double your risk of developing peripheral neuropathy. Filing an Avelox lawsuit can:
- Send a message to the drug companies, telling them that they were wrong.
- Help prevent others from also suffering from peripheral neuropathy related to Avelox use.
- Help you get additional funds to help pay costly medical bills, provide for any long-term medical care and help make up for lost income.
Avelox is the brand name for the drug moxifloxacin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat different types of bacterial infections.
From bacterial skin, lungs, sinus, or stomach infections, Avelox works by stopping the growth of bacteria in the body. It does this by disrupting DNA replications and cell division within bacteria.
Avelox belongs to a class of antibiotic drugs known as fluoroquinolones, or quinolone antibiotics, which is a fancy way of saying that Avelox is part of a very, very strong antibiotic group of drugs that can be used to treat different bacteria strains. In addition, broad-spectrum antibiotics like Avelox are often prescribed to treat symptoms caused by concurrent bacterial infections, or to treat undetermined life-threatening bacterial infections like meningitis, or to treat bacterial infections when other antibiotics have failed.
Experts advise that quinolone antibiotics such as Avelox only be prescribed as a last resort to patients with bacterial infections. This is for a number of reasons. One, because Avelox and other quinolone antibiotics are so strong, they are only needed to treat life-threatening conditions. Two, because taking a strong antibiotic such as Avelox over time may render the patient less likely to respond to the same antibiotic in the future (and when they may really need it for a life-threatening condition!). Three, because Avelox may interact with other drugs and even herbal supplements.
However, last resort-scenario or not, quinolone antibiotics such as Avelox are among the most prescribed antibiotics in the United States. What that means is, all too often, quinolone antibiotics like Avelox are prescribed for conditions for which they are not approved or conditions that are not life-threatening to the patients. In particular, Avelox is often marketed for patients with common respiratory tract infections.
Unfortunately, use of Avelox also comes with a cost: the fourth reason why Avelox and other quinolone antibiotics should only be prescribed for life-threatening conditions.
Reason number four is the associated risk of permanent peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that can be debilitating to patients and that can occur quickly after the patient first starts taking Avelox.
Peripheral neuropathy is the medical way of saying nerve damage. Sometimes peripheral neuropathy occurs in older patients who are suffering from diabetes or other conditions that involve a risk for developing peripheral neuropathy. However, peripheral neuropathy has also been associated with the use of the antibiotic Avelox.
The peripheral nervous system is composed of three main types of nerves: autonomic nerves, sensory nerves and motor nerves. Each of the three types of nerves has its own function.
Autonomic nerves help control the automatic functions of the body like bladder function and blood pressure.
Sensory nerves help the body signal sensations such as pain and temperature from the affected region of the body to the brain.
Motor nerves help control the muscles of the body.
So, if the peripheral nervous system becomes damaged, one may suffer symptoms in their sensory nerves such the feeling of numbness or tingling in the hands and feet or a burning or shooting pain, or they may suffer symptoms in their motor nerves such as the loss of coordination or severe muscle weakness.
But most often, those suffering from the nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy suffer a variety of symptoms — all relating to the damage of the autonomic, sensory and motor nerves. In fact, over 100 symptoms have been associated with peripheral neuropathy.
Typically, patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy experience the worst symptoms in their arms and legs. Some of the most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include weakness, numbness, tingling, burning, pain or a change in sensation to temperature, light, touch or sense of body position.
These symptoms can be so severe or long-lasting that some patients with peripheral neuropathy may be unable to work because of a loss of motor skills or may experience other significant trauma in their life and work because of the severe tingling, pain or change in sensation.
For those suffering from peripheral neuropathy caused by Avelox, the peripheral neuropathy may occur immediately after the patient first starts taking the antibiotic. Unfortunately, once the peripheral neuropathy occurs, it may continue for weeks, months, years or even persist for the rest of the patient’s life.
For this reason, patients who experience peripheral neuropathy while taking Avelox are advised to contact their doctor as soon as symptoms occur.
The associated risk between quinolone antibiotics like Avelox and peripheral neuropathy was reported by researchers as early as 2001. The peer-reviewed journal the Annals of Pharmacotherapy noted that the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may occur quickly in patients. In fact:
- 33 percent of patients may experience peripheral neuropathy symptoms within the first 24 hours
- 58 percent of patients may experience peripheral neuropathy symptoms with the first 72 hours
- 84 percent of patients may experience peripheral neuropathy symptoms within the first week of taking Avelox or other quinolone antibiotics.
Importantly, this paper also noted that, for many patients, the peripheral neuropathy did not go away once the patient stopped taking the fluoroquinolone.
The FDA issued a Safety Announcement in August 2013 that advised doctors and patients that it was requiring a label change to Avelox and other quinolone antibiotics in order to make sure that the serious risk of potentially irreversible peripheral neuropathy was clearly expressed.
According to the Safety Announcement:
“This serious nerve damage potentially caused by fluoroquinolones may occur soon after these drugs are taken and may be permanent … 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.”
Avelox has not only been linked to tendon ruptures, tendonitis and other potentially debilitating conditions, this powerful antibiotic may also increase a patient’s risk of damage to the aorta. Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) as well as the British Medical Journal (BMJ) show that patients taking Avelox and other fluoroquinolones are at a substantially increased risk of aortic aneurysms (bulges) and dissections (tears in the aortic wall).
In the JAMA study, Taiwanese researchers studied the medical data of nearly 1,500 patients who has suffered an aortic aneurysm after taking Avelox or another fluoroquinolone. They found that the patients were 2.4 times more likely to develop an aneurysm within 60 days of taking the antibiotic. The patients were twice as likely to suffer this complication if they had used fluoroquinolones in the past.
The BMJ study was performed by Canadian researchers who looked at the health records of approximately 650,000 patients. They determined that patients who took fluoroquinolones were at triple the risk of suffering an aortic injury.
Approximately 15,000 people die due to aortic aneurysms each year. Many people do not know they have this problem until it bursts. Warning signs include:
- Constant or occasional abdominal pain
- Lower back pain that radiates to the buttocks, groin or legs
- A pulsating sensation in the abdomen similar to a heartbeat
If you take Avelox or any other type of fluoroquinolone, please have a doctor examine you for any potential aortic injuries.
Avelox was developed by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG and is marketed by Bayer’s partner Schering-Plough Corporation. Initially, Avelox was brought to the market by Bayer with the intention of replacing one of Bayer’s other popular quinolone antibiotics, Cipro. However, Cipro was left on the market and Avelox became another source of revenue for Bayer — and a big one, at that.
In 2007, sales of Avelox made $697.3 million in revenue worldwide. Today, Avelox sales equal roughly $500 million per year.
Despite the known risks associated with Avelox and other quinolone antibiotics, Bayer was not forthright with the risks and side effects for way too long — for both their bestseller Cipro antibiotic and for Avelox.
In fact, the FDA’s response to the dangers of quinolone antibiotics is largely a result of the actions of patients who have been injured and formed together to seek action. In 2006, the national nonprofit consumer advocacy organization known as Public Citizen asked Bayer to more strongly warn doctors and patients about the risk of tendon rupture associated with quinolone antibiotics. At the time, quinolone antibiotics were blockbuster drugs and Bayer was making millions off of both Avelox and Cipro.
Unfortunately, Bayer refused to listen to Public Citizen in 2006. And that’s when the FDA finally had to step in, issuing the most stringent warning, the “Black Box” warning, for all quinolone antibiotics in 2008. However, the warning did not include the severe or permanent risk of peripheral neuropathy. The FDA finally alerted doctors and patients of the risk of peripheral neuropathy for both Avelox, Cipro and other quinolone antibiotics in 2013.
The responsibility of hearing of a drug’s associated risks and side effects should fall on the manufacturer and marketer of the drug. When the drug’s manufacturer and marketer fail to properly warn patients, then the FDA has to take charge (and yes, the FDA’s process is sometimes slower than we would like).
However, there are some drugs that get attention outside of the FDA or the necessary label warnings. That attention is often from the media and for some quinolone antibiotics like Levaquin, there was a significant amount of press over the last couple of years, much of it surrounding the risk of tendon rupture or damage.
However, while the quinolone antibiotics Avelox have the same basic chemical structure of Levaquin (also a quinolone antibiotic), little has been done to draw public attention or education to its risks. Unfortunately, many patients who took Avelox and developed symptoms of peripheral neuropathy were completely blindsided by the symptoms — they really had no idea that the risk was a possibility at all.
The lack of public knowledge would be a problem for any drug with dangerous side effects or risks, but for Avelox, the problem is even bigger because of the difficulty that may come with identifying the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in patients.
All too often, patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy report their symptoms to muted ears. Because Bayer did not make the risks of peripheral neuropathy as clear as they should have, the medical field was unprepared to recognize the symptoms once they started occurring in patients. And for that reason, some patients who suffered symptoms of peripheral neuropathy were told something that they should have never been told: they were told it was in their heads, that their symptoms were not real.
A great deal has been done by the FDA to expose the damage Avelox is capable of causing.
In October 2008, the FDA placed the most serious alert on Avelox and other quinolone antibiotics, known as a “Black Box” warning. The label warned doctors and patients of the serious risk of tendon damage that comes with taking Avelox and other quinolone antibiotics.
Then, in August 2013 the FDA updated its Safety Announcement to alert doctors and patients of the risk of serious and permanent peripheral neuropathy that may occur soon after patients first start taking Avelox.
However, despite the warnings, there has been no ban or recall of Avelox.
What that means is that, despite the countless individuals who have already been harmed by Avelox and other quinolone antibiotics, even more patients may be injured and suffer from peripheral neuropathy at the hands of Bayer’s Avelox. Contact our office today to speak with an attorney about filing an Avelox nerve damage lawsuit.