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How Much is Too Much? A Look at the History of Levaquin and its Dangers
- Levaquin has been known to cause peripheral neuropathy in some patients for over ten years now — even the FDA has listed peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of Levaquin since 2004.
- Levaquin was the best-selling antibiotic in the United States in 2010, with sales around $1.5 billion, according to IMS Health.
What happened in-between?
There were no Levaquin recalls, there were no major Levaquin studies, there were no major efforts made to warn doctors and patients of the drug’s associated risks. Instead, a great push by the drug’s marketers made Levaquin, an antibiotic belonging to the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics that was intended for serious and life-threatening conditions, a more and more commonly prescribed antibiotic, even for routine bacterial infections like urinary tract infections and earaches.
In that time, too, some patients experienced muscle cramps, twitching, even sensory problems like numbness in the hands and feet and loss of sensation or diminished reflexes after taking Levaquin. These symptoms belong to a category known as peripheral neuropathy — and while Levaquin was the best-selling antibiotic in 2010, its risk of peripheral neuropathy was listed by the FDA six years prior.
Patients who were injured by dangerous drugs ask us a similar thing all the time. One way or another, they ask, “Well, how could the drug makers know?”
The common frame of thought is: Once the drug manufacturers and marketers knew of the dangers, they must have done something. The good people of the country think, surely, no company would knowingly put patients in harm’s way.
Sadly, this is not the case. Instead, the simple math is 2004 versus 2010 — six years went by and nothing was done to make sure that patients were protected from peripheral neuropathy while taking Levaquin, just as nothing of substance was done to learn who or why someone was more at risk.
We think that’s a crying shame.
Today we are announcing our participation in the Levaquin lawsuit, a drug that may have inflicted serious and sometimes permanent harm on countless unsuspecting Americans across the country. With your help, we hope to do what should have been done back even before 2004: Help protect patients who were, or could be, harmed by Levaquin in the future.