If you need antibiotics, you probably aren’t at the point where you will turn down medicine. Antibiotics treat illnesses or infections like a UTI or strep throat – and no one is going to pass up an opportunity to get rid of those.
However, before you head to the pharmacy, check out the type of antibiotic you have been prescribed. If you see the term “fluoroquinolone,” you might need to turn around and head right back to your doctor.
Why? Because your doctor could be putting you at risk for some serious injuries.
What are Fluoroquinolones?
Fluoroquinolones is a term that refers to a specific group of antibiotics. They include pills like:
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
- Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
- Ofloxacin (Floxin)
- Gemifloxacin (Factive)
These antibiotics, and their generic forms, may be prescribed to get rid of a sinus infection or a UTI, but only in cases where other antibiotics could not do the trick.
What does that mean? Sometimes, strains of infections evolve so that they can withstand typical antibiotics, so stronger antibiotics have been developed to help people fight off the bugs. Fluoroquinolones fall into this category.
They have proven to be quite effective when used as a second or third line of defense after other antibiotics have failed. However, they are not always used for that reason. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe a patient Cipro or Floxin before trying antibiotics that are safer and gentler. Unfortunately, when doctors do this, they could end up causing real harm to the patient in question.
In fact, in 2013 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually started to advise patients against taking fluoroquinolones after receiving a safety review that the group of antibiotics had caused debilitating injuries and permanent side effects in some people.
The Risk with Fluoroquinolones
In November of 2015, members of the FDA gathered to address a panel of patients who wanted to share their stories about using fluoroquinolones and how it profoundly affected their life. By the end of the panel, the FDA had concluded that the risks associated with fluoroquinolones far outweighed the benefits, and in May of 2016, they released a safety announcement advising against the use of fluoroquinolones in most cases.
Rachel Brummert was one of the 30+ patients at the 2015 panel. Brummert took Levaquin in 2006 for a sinus infection. As a result, she suffered 10 ruptured tendons and progressive nerve damage.
Worse, her injuries aren’t out of the ordinary for patients who have suffered after taking fluoroquinolones. Some of the most concerning side effects included:
- Damages to the muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system.
- Irregular heartbeats
The most concerning (and commonly brought up) side effects include tendon rupture and other tendon-related injuries.
Tendons are the tissues that attach muscles to bones or other structures. Tendons are what give your muscles the ability to move with bones. They are found throughout your body – from your eyeballs all the way down to your Achilles heel.
Just think for a second about your Achilles heel being ruptured. Certainly, no one with a sinus infection would sign up for that.
If You Are Prescribed a Harmful Prescription Drug
Remember, fluoroquinolones are not off the market. As was mentioned above, they can be effective as a second or third line of defense, so no one wants to completely take them away as a tool.
However, if you are prescribed fluoroquinolones right off the bat, it is fair to have a conversation with your doctor about the FDA’s opinion on the drugs. Moreover, it may be useful to get a second opinion.
If you are prescribed an antibiotic or another drug for a sinus infection, it is recommended that you learn more about the drug through online research, or at least read the information that you receive at the pharmacy.
If you’ve taken a prescription drug and are experiencing negative side effects, talk to a doctor immediately. Document your side effects, as well as the additional medical care that you need in order to treat them. If your doctor tells you to stop taking the antibiotic, put it down. All of this information will be necessary if you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer and potentially take action for damages.
Most patients are lucky if they can catch and identify negative side effects from the get-go and prevent them from getting worse. However, not everyone is so lucky. In New York, you have around two and a half years from the time you stop taking fluoroquinolones to sue the appropriate party for your injuries. The defendant may be your doctor, a hospital, or the manufacturer of the drug itself.
If you want to receive compensation for injuries that resulted from a risky prescription drug, the first thing that you need to do is contact a New York personal injury lawyer.