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Could Your Antibiotic be Killing You?

How many people simply trust that their doctor is prescribing a safe medication? Most people do, because the idea of every drug having so many side effects has been promoted so heavily that it’s not even taken seriously anymore. Commercials are all over the television with a lengthy list of disturbing side effects, and yet many people don’t consider that even common drugs, like antibiotics, may also come with major risks. If you’ve recently been prescribed an antibiotic, take a look at the label and actually read through the information leaflet instead of just pitching it. You might discover that some of these drugs carry concerning side effects. One particular family of strong antibiotics that is wreaking havoc with serious side effects, while many patients who take them are unaware, are flouroquinolones.

Concerns Over Flouroquinolones

Even though the public might think that concerns over flouroquinolones (also referred to as FLQs or quinolones) are relatively new, that’s not the case in the health field. Researchers and medical practitioners have been asking questions about the dangers of these medications for at least fifteen years. These antibiotics are to be used in the treatment of more serious conditions, like respiratory tract infections (think hospital pneumonia), and other infections that may be resistant to weaker antibiotics. Experts in the field of infections believe that FLQs, like Cipro and Levaquin, should be used as a last resort, not as a first option. However, more doctors are using Levaquin and Cipro as the first medication option to be handed out when any type of infection presents. Infections like sinus infections, ear infections, and even urinary tract infections do not require such a strong antibiotic that is such a risk to the patient who is sick. In fact, it’s estimated that there are 23 million prescriptions for FLQs at this time, an alarming number given the recommendation that it only be used as a last ditch effort.

Serious Side Effects

These drugs have serious side effects listed, which can be easily overlooked. One of the most serious and long-lasting adverse effects is peripheral neuropathy. In FDA research, there were nearly 140 cases of peripheral neuropathy between 2001 and 2003 alone, even though the label lists this as a “rare” side effect. During this same period, a professor with an expertise in FLQ side effects noted that as many as one-third of patients would have some kind psychiatric side effect. There are symptoms that can clue you in to the development of peripheral neuropathy. These include tingling in your hands or feet, stabbing pains, feeling as though you are wearing a tight sock or glove, a buzzing sensation, thin skin, problems with digestion, and excessive sweating. If taking a an FLQ, make sure you contact your physician as soon as you develop these symptoms. Despite the fact that these side effects are listed as “rare”, or unlikely to occur, serious dangers do exist. If you’re in relatively good health to begin with and a physician prescribed you one of these FLQ medications as a first option, you need to be aware of the adverse effects, especially during the 180 days following that experience. If you have developed peripheral neuropathy, and you feel it may have resulted from taking this medication when other options were available, you need to speak with an experienced lawyer at Van Wey, Metzler & Williams, PLLC about your rights. You may be entitled to compensation under personal injury law, and you need to have your case evaluated in full by an experienced attorney. Did you start taking this drug and develop symptoms? Were you prescribed this medication for a routine infection? Don’t wait to reach out to Van Wey Law for a free consultation today.

By: Kay Van Wey | April 29th, 2016

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