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Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are a type of antibiotics grouped together based on their chemical properties. Though each fluoroquinolone is approved for different uses by the FDA, these antibacterial agents generally have been used to treat respiratory and urinary tract infections, as well as other types of bacterial infections.
Some of the medications that fall into the category of fluoroquinolone antibiotics are:
Currently, some of these medications have been discontinued in their brand-name formulations, but brand-name prescriptions are still dispensed, along with many generic formulations.
Although approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat specific conditions, concerns are mounting that taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics may be linked to aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm. Two recent studies published by respected medical journals have demonstrated that taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics may harm the aortic wall, leading to dissection or aneurysm.
People with aortic aneurysm or dissection are likely to require hospitalization, and in some cases, surgery. One of the new studies indicates that risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection may still be significantly elevated even a year after taking a fluoroquinolone.
Nearly eight years ago the FDA concluded that a boxed warning, the agency’s strongest type of warning, was a necessary addition to all fluoroquinolone labeling. The agency instructed manufacturers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics of the need to “add a boxed warning to the prescribing information about the increased risk of developing tendinitis and tendon rupture in patients taking” fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
The FDA has not taken any action yet regarding the recently published data indicating aortic dissection and aneurysm risk accompanying use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
Two different groups of researchers that recently have had their findings published in separate medical journals have reason to believe that fluoroquinolone antibiotics may damage certain types of collagen. This may result not only in tendon rupture, but also aortic dissection or aneurysm.
According to authors of the study published in the medical journal BMJ Open, type I and type III collagen constitute most of the collagen in the Achilles tendon as well as most (80 to 90 percent) of the collagen in the aorta.
The authors note that “Diseases of the aorta, including aortic aneurysms and dissections, are associated with alterations in collagen content, concentrations, and structure.” Because these alterations to collagen are likely the cause of tendon injuries associated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, the authors conjecture that such changes may lead to potentially life-threatening aortic dissection and aneurysm as well.
Researchers involved in the BMJ Open study, which examined hazard ratios for tendon rupture, retinal detachment, and aortic aneurysm, found an over twofold increased hazard of aortic aneurysm. The JAMA Internal Medicine study also found that use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics was associated with a greater than twofold risk of aortic aneurysm and dissection.
The authors of these studies suggest that physicians should weigh the possible risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection when treating patients with fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
The aorta is the major artery that carries oxygenated blood out of the heart so that it can be distributed to the rest of the body. An aortic dissection occurs when a tear forms in the wall of the aorta. Depending on the length of the tear, blood may flow between the layers of the aortic wall, potentially causing an aortic rupture, or bursting of the aortic wall. Decreased blood flow to other organs in the body may lead to other complications.
An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulging or enlargement of the aorta. If this bulging causes the aortic wall to burst, a person may suffer a hemorrhage (severe bleeding), a condition that is often fatal.
If you were diagnosed with an infection, took a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, and suffered an aortic dissection or aneurysm necessitating hospitalization or surgery, you may be entitled to compensation.
Or, if you are a surviving spouse or family member of someone who took a fluoroquinolone antibiotic and died from aortic dissection or aneurysm, please contact us. You may be able to receive compensation.
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