Levaquin Lawsuit

Levaquin, also known as levofloxacin, is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. Many patients have reported to cause peripheral neuropathy, tendon rupture, aortic aneurysm, and aortic dissection. The manufacturer of Levaquin, Johnson & Johnson, has settled hundreds of Levaquin lawsuits for injuries caused by their drug and has also discontinued the production of Levaquin.

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Why Are There Levaquin Lawsuits?

Johnson & Johnson has received many lawsuits over the dangers their drugs are causing for their patients. Additionally, the company is being accused of marketing Levaquin aggressively to the public and to physicians despite knowing the antibiotic could cause serious injuries. 

Why Did Plaintiffs File Levaquin Lawsuits?

Lawsuits have been made against Johnson & Johnson for the serious injuries that patients developed due to taking Levaquin. These injuries include tendon rupture, neurological damage, aortic dissection, and aortic aneurysm. 

What Levaquin Lawsuits Were There?

In 2010, Johnson & Johnson lost a lawsuit filed due to a Levaquin injury and ended up awarding the plaintiff $1.8 million. 

A RICO lawsuit was filed against Johnson & Johnson in 2016, claiming that the company hid safety information intentionally. There were no announcements regarding the disposition of this lawsuit, but the company opted to discontinue manufacturing Levaquin. 

Are There Levaquin Lawsuit Settlements?

In 2012, Johnson & Johnson quietly settled 845 lawsuits for undisclosed amounts. It was reported, at that time, that they may have faced more than 3,000 lawsuits, but no additional settlements were announced in regard to those lawsuits. 

Are There Active Levaquin Lawsuits?

As of September 2023, there are no active Levaquin lawsuits. 

What Is Levaquin?

Levaquin, also known as levofloxacin, is an antibiotic medication that’s part of a family known as fluoroquinolones. This medication typically comes in the form of a tablet and is taken by patients orally to fight bacterial infections. 

What Are Fluoroquinolones?

Fluoroquinolones are a class of antibiotics used to treat or prevent certain bacterial infections. Other drugs that are classified as fluoroquinolone include Cipro, Factive, Avelox, and Floxin. 

What Is Levaquin Used To Treat?

Since Levaquin is classified as an antibiotic, it is only used to treat bacterial infections and cannot treat colds, flu, and other viral infections. 

Though it was originally used for a wide range of bacterial infections, serious side effects limited use to only severe infections that no other medications or treatments can treat including:

  • Acute pyelonephritis
  • Complicated urinary infection
  • Complicated skin and structure infections
  • Nosocomial or community-acquired pneumonia
  • Chronic prostate infection
  • Anthrax exposure
  • Acute bacterial sinusitis
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infection
  • Acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis.  

How Does Levaquin Work?

Levaquin, as with other fluoroquinolones, is active against a wide range of aerobic gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. This means that this antibiotic is strong enough to treat different bacterial strains and infections. Gram-positive coverage includes strep and pneumonia whereas gram-negative coverage includes meningitis and gonorrhea. 

Levaquin slows down the growth of bacteria to prevent them from growing and thriving inside the body. Using Levaquin when it is not needed can cause the body to build up resistance, leading to Levaquin not working on future infections. 

What Are the Side Effects of Levaquin?

Like all medications, Levaquin carries a number of side effect warnings. Some of these side effects may pose a serious or even life-threatening risk. 

Common Levaquin side effects include: 

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Vaginitis

More serious Levaquin side effects include: 

  • Tendon rupture or damage
  • Anaphylaxis 
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Peripheral neuropathy 
  • Nerve damage
  • Aortic aneurysm 
  • Aortic dissection 

What Side Effects of Levaquin Indicate a Life-Threatening Emergency?

These symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency as they may indicate a life-threatening event.

Symptoms of serious Levaquin complications may include: 

  • Chest Pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sudden pain in arms or legs
  • Changes in consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing

What Is an Aortic Aneurysm?

An aortic aneurysm is a big, balloon-shaped bulge in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso. Diseases and unhealthy behaviors that damage the heart and blood vessels increase the risk of an aortic aneurysm. Some unhealthy behaviors include smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

The ways that aortic aneurysms can be fixed are through different medications, treatments, and surgery. Medicines, diets, and exercise changes can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of an aortic aneurysm from occurring. Survery can repair or replace the affection section of the aorta. 

What Are Symptoms of an Aortic Aneurysm?

Signs and symptoms that are typically associated with aortic aneurysms can include: 

  • Sharp, sudden pain in the chest or upper back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Throbbing or deep pain in the back or side
  • Pain in the buttocks, groin, or legs

What Are Complications Associated With an Aortic Aneurysm?

Recorded complications associated with an aortic aneurysm include: 

  • Bleeding
  • Abdominal compartment syndrome
  • Pneumonia
  • Draft infection
  • Renal failure
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Amputation
  • Impotence 
  • Death

What Are the Risk Factors of an Aortic Aneurysm?

There are lifestyle habits and previous health conditions that can make patients more at risk of aortic aneurysms.

Some of these risk factors can include: 

  • Hypertension
  • Aneurysms
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Bicuspid aortic valve
  • Elevated peak aortic wall stress
  • Smoking
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Obesity 
  • COPD 

What Is Aortic Dissection?

An aortic dissection occurs when an aortic aneurysm causes a tear in the inner layer of the aorta. Blood will rush through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to dissect. If left untreated, the blood can go through the aortic wall, often leading to deadly and painful results. 

What Are the Symptoms of Aortic Dissection?

Symptoms of an aortic dissection are similar to other heart problems like a heart attack.

Some signs and symptoms can include: 

  • Sudden severe chest or upper back pain
  • Sudden severe stomach pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Paralysis on one side of the body
  • Weak pulse
  • Leg pain
  • Difficulty walking

What Are Complications Associated With Aortic Dissection?

Possible complications associated with aortic dissection include: 

  • Death due to severe internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Intestinal damage
  • Stroke
  • Aortic valve damage or rupture

What Are the Risk Factors for Aortic Dissection?

Some things that may raise the risk of aortic dissection include: 

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Hardening of the arteries 
  • Weakened and bulging artery
  • An aortic valve defect
  • A narrowing of the aorta at birth

Certain genetic diseases increase the risk of having an aortic dissection: 

  • Turner syndrome
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Other connective tissue disorders 

What Are the FDA’s Warnings About Levaquin?

Levaquin, along with other fluoroquinolone drugs, first received a Boxed Warning in July 2008 for the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture. This warning was updated in February 2011 to add the risk of worsening symptoms for those with myasthenia gravis. Additionally, in August 2013, the labels were required to describe the potential for irreversible peripheral neuropathy. 

Finally, in May 2016, the FDA advised that fluoroquinolones including Levaquin should be reserved for conditions only when there are no other options available due to potentially permanent, disabling side effects of the condition. This was required to be put on all fluoroquinolone drug labels. 

Is Levaquin Still on the Market?

As of 2020, Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin that was produced and shipped has now expired. They are also not producing any new doses. As of 2023, Levaquin is not available for purchase in the United States.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.