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FDA Warns Against Prescribing FLQ Antibiotics for Non-Serious Health Conditions
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on July 25 that doctors should not prescribe powerful fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Avelox and Levaquin to patients suffering from non-serious infections. These include chronic bronchitis, sinusitis and simple urinary tract infections. The FDA stated that use of these drugs could result in potentially debilitating side effects such as severe nerve damage.
The Drug of Last Resort
Because these antibiotics are so strong, the FDA warns that doctors should not prescribe them unless there are no other available treatment options. An FDA official said in a statement that doctors need to be aware of both the risks and benefits of fluoroquinolone antibiotics and make informed decisions regarding their use. The agency recommends these drugs should only be used for life-threatening infections such as plague, bacterial pneumonia and anthrax.
According to CBS News, the FDA conducted a safety review that showed fluoroquinolone use can lead to potentially permanent damage affecting the central nervous system, joints, muscles and more. This damage can occur weeks or even hours after using this type of antibiotic. Some people can suffer multiple side effects simultaneously.
The FDA will also update the box warning labels of fluoroquinolones as well as the Warning and Precautions labels. Medication guides that patients receive will be updated to reflect the risks of taking the drugs.