Johnson & Johnson is facing two new lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania court by men who allege that they developed permanent nerve damage after using the company’s antibiotic drug Levaquin. The two lawsuits are the latest in dozens of cases filed against makers of a class of antibiotic medications known as fluoroquinolones or FQ antibiotics, which includes Levaquin, by patients who were diagnosed with serious or permanent nerve damage after being prescribed the drugs.
Levaquin (known generically as levofloxacin) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998. The antibiotic is used to treat infections of the skin, sinuses, kidneys, bladder, or prostate, bronchitis or pneumonia, and other types of bacterial infection.
Recent studies have shown that Levaquin and other quinolone antibiotics may increase a patient’s risk of developing peripheral neuropathy, a serious form of nerve damage affecting the extremities (arms or legs). Researchers have found that patients who develop peripheral neuropathy after taking FQ antibiotics may continue to have symptoms for months after they stop taking these medications, and that in some cases, symptoms may be permanent.
According to the two Pennsylvania Levaquin lawsuits, the first evidence of a link between Levaquin and an increased risk of a type of nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy came in the early 1990s, when a study was published suggesting such a link. Another paper published in 2001—after Levaquin had been approved for sale by the Food and Drug Administration—uncovered dozens of cases of peripheral neuropathy in patients who used Levaquin, including many where symptoms persisted for months after stopping treatment with the antibiotic drug.
Johnson & Johnson and other makers of FQ antibiotics updated the labeling for these medications in 2004 to include information about peripheral neuropathy. However, the Pennsylvania lawsuits allege that this information was buried in the drug’s label along with warnings about many other potential side effects, making it difficult for doctors and patients to understand the link between fluoroquinolones and peripheral neuropathy. In 2013, the FDA ruled that these earlier warnings were inadequate, and required the manufacturers of FQ antibiotics to add an updated warning that Levaquin and similar medications could lead to severe and potentially permanent nerve damage.
William Smith and Edward Hartley, the two men who filed the lawsuits, were diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy after being prescribed Levaquin to treat infections. The men allege that had they known about the link between FQ antibiotics like Levaquin and permanent nerve damage, they would have never taken the medication.
Lawsuits Filed Over Antibiotics Like Levaquin and Peripheral Neuropathy
Patients who developed nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy after taking FQ antibiotic drugs such as Levaquin, Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin), Noroxin (norfloxacin), Floxin (ofloxacin), and Factive (gemifloxacin) may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for their injuries. In addition, patients who have experienced symptoms of nerve damage in the hands, arms, legs, or feet which could be signs of peripheral neuropathy may also qualify to file a lawsuit. This can include pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness affecting the extremities.
The first step in filing a lawsuit is to enlist the help of an attorney with the experience in product liability and pharmaceutical liability cases to guide you and your family through the complicated process of filing a lawsuit. The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson was founded on the idea that companies and individuals should be accountable for their own actions. When drug manufacturers and other companies cause harm to patients or consumers because of their negligence, we believe they should be held responsible for their wrongful actions in a court of law.
Our attorneys have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured by dangerous drugs, medical devices, or other products. Our law firm has handled more cases involving the fentanyl pain patch—a powerful opioid painkiller that is about 80-100 times more powerful than morphine—than all other law firms in the country combined. We have also represented clients who were injured by other prescription medications, including drugs such as Yasmin, Actos, Avandia, Zofran, and Pradaxa.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy after taking Levaquin or other FQ antibiotics—or if you have experienced symptoms of nerve damage associated with the use of these drugs, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation to find out whether you may be eligible to file a case, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also contact our law firm by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions about your case to get started.