Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone-type antibiotic which is now restricted to serious infections which cannot be treated with other medications. It was once popularly used to treat a variety of infections in adults and children but serious concerns about its side effects have limited its use.
Currently, Cipro is still used in:
- Complicated urinary infection
- Acute pyelonephritis
- Chronic prostate infection
- Complicated skin and structure infections
- Nosocomial or community-acquired pneumonia
- Anthrax exposure
Cipro use should be limited to patients who have no alternative treatment options for:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis
- Uncomplicated urinary tract infection
- Acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis
In most cases, Cipro should not be used in children unless no other treatment options exist.
Cipro’s manufacturer, Bayer pharmaceuticals has faced multiple lawsuits filed by people who have experienced side effects such as tendon rupture or neurologic damage and by families of those who experienced serious aortic injuries. Cipro and other fluoroquinolones may cause aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm, both of which are commonly fatal.
Bayer is also facing a number of lawsuits against another fluoroquinolone medication which it manufactures, Avelox. Because of side effects and toxicity, some manufacturers of other fluoroquinolones like Levaquin, have opted to discontinue manufacturing their medications.
Cipro Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Dissection
In December of 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert which warned of the risk of aortic injury when using fluoroquinolones including Cipro. The increased risk of potentially fatal cardiac effects may begin as soon as the medications are started and continue for up to 60 days after they are discontinued.
Cipro may work to degrade collagen which provides support for many tissues in the body including tendons. Collagen also provides support for the rigid structure of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. Cipro’s breakdown of collagen may contribute to serious effects such as tendon rupture and may increase the risk of a major aortic injury.
Aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection occur when the structure of the aortic wall becomes weakened, allowing the vessel wall to bulge or separate. Once the aorta is ruptured, massive bleeding or hemorrhage will occur and nearly always result in death.
Cipro Side effects
Fluoroquinolones like Cipro work by inhibiting enzymes required for DNA synthesis and repair in bacteria, blocking bacterial reproduction and self-repair. Cipro may also cause certain side effects, most of which are mild to moderate but in some cases may be severe or even life-threatening.
Common side effects of Cipro include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
Serious complications of Cipro include:
- Peripheral nerve damage
- Central nervous system effects
- Anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction
- Tendon rupture or damage
- Aortic aneurysm or dissection
Symptoms of serious complications may include:
- Sudden pain in tendons, muscles, arms or legs
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes in consciousness
- Changes or loss of sensation in arms, legs or skin
Symptoms of serious Cipro side effects should be reported to a health care practitioner immediately.
Prior to the warnings recently issued about potentially fatal cardiac conditions, the FDA has required that Cipro and other fluoroquinolones include “black box” or boxed statement warnings on all prescribing information. The black box warning is the most severe warning that can be issued by the FDA.
Cipro’s black box warnings state that there is a risk of:
- Central nervous system damage
- Peripheral nerve damage
- Tendon rupture
- Serious allergic reaction
Cipro’s black box warning also includes a recommendation that it should only be used for infections that are determined to be sensitive to Cipro and that the medication should be limited to use in patients who cannot be treated with other medications.
Cipro’s manufacturer Bayer previously faced class action Cipro lawsuits due to claims that the company was conspiring to keep generic medications off of the market. The class action pricing lawsuit was settled in 2014 with a payment of $74 million but Bayer is facing a number of Cipro injury lawsuits.
Federal Cipro lawsuits have been combined with Bayer’s lawsuits for another medication, Avelox and consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. State courts in California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and other states may have more Cipro lawsuits pending.
Fluoroquinolone manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson have already settled a number of lawsuits for drugs similar to Cipro. J&J reportedly settled at least 845 lawsuits for injuries caused by its drug, Levaquin in 2012. They were possibly facing up to 3,000 lawsuits but has since opted to discontinue manufacturing Levaquin.
No Cipro lawsuit settlements have been announced but past medical injiury lawsuits have provided compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and in some cases, punitive damages. People who taken Cipro and have experienced aortic injuries, neurological damage or other serious complications should seek legal assistance.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.