Levaquin Tendon Rupture
Levaquin, an antibiotic in the class known as fluoroquinolones, is usually prescribed for respiratory and sinus infections, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia, as well as other kinds of infections affecting the skin, prostate, or kidneys.
As with other fluoroquinolones, there are a number of known side effects resulting from Levaquin use, in particular tendonitis, tendon rupture, and rotator cuff tears. FDA data suggests that the risk of these side effects is higher for Levaquin than for other fluoroquinolones. The FDA requires that Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones carry a “black box” warning stating that “Fluoroquinolones are associated with an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture.”
What are tendons?
Tendons are flexible, stretchable bands made of fibrous connective tissue. They connect skeletal muscles to bones. When you move your arms, legs, hands, etc., the skeletal muscle contracts and pulls on the tendon, which in turn pulls on the bone, causing it to move.
Certain tendons have a limited blood supply, which means that when these tendons are injured or torn, they take much longer to heal, because it takes longer for blood (necessary for the healing process) to reach these tendons. These vulnerable tendons include the Achilles tendon (in the heel), the rotator cuff (a group of tendons in the shoulder), and certain tendons in the hands, thumbs, feet, and arms. Achilles tendon tears are among the most common tendon ruptures associated with Levaquin.
Medical researchers believe that Levaquin may be toxic to tendon fibers and may reduce the flow of blood to tendons that already have a limited blood supply, making them more vulnerable to tears and ruptures.
Symptoms of Levaquin tendon rupture
Tendonitis means that the tendon is inflamed, whereas tendon rupture means it has actually torn. In order to determine which is the case, a physician will order an MRI or ultrasound scan to get a visual image of the tendon’s tissues.
Symptoms of tendonitis include swelling, inflammation, and pain when the area is touched or moved. Tendonitis itself makes the tendon more vulnerable to rupture. Symptoms of tendon rupture include feeling a “pop” or “snap” sensation, weakness in the limb, bruising around the area, and inability to move the joint.
Treatment of these conditions can include rest, use of a cane or crutch, anti-inflammatory pain medications, cortisome shots, and surgery.
More than 2,600 Levaquin lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson by patients who have experienced these side effects.