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Fluoroquinolones Linked to Severe Aortic Complications
Fluoroquinolones, a group of powerful antibiotics, have long been linked to severe tendon and ligament damage. Now these drugs are being associated with often-fatal dissections and aneurysms affecting the aorta.
Commonly Used, Often Over-prescribed
Tens of millions of people in the United States use fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Avelox and Levaquin each year. While they are meant to fight more serious infections, fluoroquinolones are commonly prescribed for relatively minor problems such as urinary tract and sinus infections as well as bronchitis. Many people taking these drugs have reported problems such as tendon ruptures and peripheral neuropathy – two conditions that can often be debilitating.
An Even Worse Problem
But recent studies suggest that fluoroquinolones can do serious damage to the body’s largest blood vessel, the aorta. Tears, or dissections of the aorta, as well as bulges, or aneurysms, have been reported. Both of these can lead to significant weakening of the aorta that can result in a potentially fatal rupture.
The aorta transports blood from the heart to all of the body’s organs with the exception for the lungs. While a rupture can lead to nearly instantaneous death, other complications associated with damage to the aorta include organ failure, heart attacks and strokes. Researchers believe that fluoroquinolones can break down collagen, a substance not only found in tendons but also in the lining of the blood vessel. When this happens, the risk of a rupture or other damage increases.