I bring troubling news about a common class of antibiotics that many of our readers know and love. And more troubling has taken assuming that they were completely safe. They could not be more wrong.
New studies are showing that a class of drugs known as fluoroquinolone which comprise popular medications like Cipro, Avelox and Levaquin carry high potential side effects, permanent injuries or even death. Despite their dangers, they are the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics in the United States; more than 26 million Americans take them in some form every year. Pharmaceutical companies are raking in the profits. In 2010, Bayer’s top two fluoroquinolones (Cipro and Avelox) brought in $1 billion in sales. Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin sold $1.3 billion.
All antibiotics carry a risk of side effects, but fluoroquinolones are in a class by themselves when it comes to potential health risks. Despite their higher than normal risks, doctors frequently prescribe them as the first line of treatment even for mild infections. Most victims claim they were never even warned of the serious side effects of these antibiotics. Studies have emerged linking them to damage the lining of the aorta. Evidence suggests that fluoroquinolones can cause two kinds of damage to the aorta: dissection (tears) and aneurysms (bulging or enlargement). These conditions weaken the walls of the aorta and may lead to leaks or rupture, which can be fatal.
Fluoroquinolones work by using fluoride to penetrate into very sensitive tissues, including your brain. This deep tissue penetration makes a potent neurotoxin. However, scientists are beginning to suspect that fluoroquinolones break down collagen in the body, as well. Collagen is found in the tendons and makes up the lining of the aorta. Two 2015 studies published in JAMA and BMJ medical journals revealed a connection between these powerful antibiotics and collagen damage that may lead to aortic dissections and aneurysms.
Fluoroquinolones were associated with a two-fold increase in the risk of dissection and aneurysm within 60 days of using the drug and a nearly three-fold increase in the risk of an aneurysm. This study followed about 1.7 million patients and found one-third of them received a prescription for a fluoroquinolone.
The incidence of aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm in the U.S. has risen over the last several decades, with an estimated 15,000 Americans dying each year from an aortic aneurysm alone. Shouldn’t patients of these antibiotics be warned?
If you or a loved one experienced an adverse event from taking a fluoroquinolone, call us at 877-513-9517 for a free consultation.