Like most of us, I’ve taken antibiotics many times. I’m also aware that over the years certain strong antibiotics have been prescribed for everything from common colds—that they won’t fix—to major bacterial infections. However, with increasing evidence that some side effects may outweigh the benefits, the days of freely prescribing antibiotics need to end. Drug companies are happy to sell their product for widespread use, and downplay side effects.
A Prescription for Nerve Damage
The class of antibiotics currently under investigation is called fluoroquinolones. Studies from the last 12 years have increasingly shown that these antibiotics can cause painful and permanent nerve damage. Better known by brand names such as Levaquin, Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), and Avelox, these drugs are popular with doctors, in part, because they cover a wide range of infections. They were originally created for cases of very serious infections, but doctors began prescribing them for minor problems like sinus, urinary tract, and ear infections even when cheaper just as effective antibiotics were available. When patients came in complaining of pain, tingling and numbness in legs and arms, dizziness, weakness or headaches, many doctors did not recognize these symptoms as side effects of the antibiotics.
Antibiotic Manufacturers Need to Alert Physicians NOW
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has twice required new warning labels on these drugs. But, manufacturers watered down the warning on the label and did not send notices to doctors. Basically, the first revised label said if signs of nerve damage occur, “just stop taking the antibiotic and symptoms will go away.” In reality, the nerve damage can be permanent even after just a few pills.
Manufacturers need to proactively tell doctors about the serious risks associated with these antibiotics and advise doctors to prescribe such potent antibiotics only when a less hazardous treatment isn’t available.
Taking Charge when Taking Antibiotics
Educate yourself on the possible side effects of any prescription or over-the-counter drug before you purchase them. Pharmacists are great resources because they are more aware of the drug updates and interactions. Two government sites with drug database information are the FDA and Medline. Call your doctor if you are concerned about potential side effects, especially of prescribed antibiotics, before you take them.
The FDA is responsible for approving drugs and manufacturers are supposed to submit ongoing research about the approved drugs. Given our understanding of the threats posed by Levaquin, Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), and Avelox, legal action may become necessary if drug makers continue to act irresponsibly in safeguarding the public from potentially hazardous antibiotics.
If you have been injured by an antibiotic contact the Boston personal injury attorneys at Janet, Janet & Suggs today.