Jan 9, 2019
If you’re taking an antibiotic with “FLOXACIN” in its name, listen up. The FDA wants you to know that the drug can weaken the walls of your aorta leading to deadly ruptures.
The fluoroquinolone antibiotics including ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), and moxifloxacin (Avelox) and a few others have been around for more than 30 years, and they can be invaluable for treating some nasty bacteria that other drugs won’t touch. Although used in Europe, their approval by the FDA for use in the USA was delayed for many years by concerns about their tendency to weakening connective tissues leading to tendon ruptures. Now, after FDA approval, they are increasingly and unnecessarily being prescribed for less critical infections such as sinusitis that other antibiotics can effectively treat.
This year, the FDA issued significant warnings and labelling changes due to an accumulation of adverse event reports. This past July, the FDA strengthened warnings that this class of drugs can cause serious mental disturbances including disorientation, agitation, memory impairment, nervousness as well as blood sugar disturbances including hypoglycemic coma.
Now, the FDA heralds a more serious warning: the “FLOXIN” antibiotics tendency to weaken connective tissue can lead to a sudden rupture of the aorta, the high-pressure “fire hose” leading from your heart and distributing arterial blood back to the heart itself, your brain, and to other vital organs. If an aortic tear occurs, sudden death can follow. If you’re luckier, an excruciating back pain may drive you to the hospital where a risky operation often requiring cardiac bypass may stabilize your situation.
Persons with high blood pressure, known vascular disease especially aortic aneurysms, advanced age, neurologic conditions, and diabetes should not take the “FLOXIN” antibiotics. If you are taking one of them, immediately ask your doctor if another, safer drug may be substituted.
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