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Levaquin Tendon Injury Victims Seeking Justice Through Lawsuits

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Thousands of  people are expected to file lawsuits against the makers of Levaquin, and antibiotic tied to tendon damage.

The first Levaquin tendon injury trial is expected to begin sometime in the late summer of 2010.  Last June,  federal Levaquin lawsuits were consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation before U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim in the District of Minnesota.  Recently, attorneys representing Levaquin victims in New Jersey state court requested that those lawsuits be centralized before one judge, as well.

According to The Wall Street Journal, one of the latest Levaquin lawsuits was just filed in a New Jersey state court on behalf of three plaintiffs from around the U.S.  The lawsuit charges that Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil represented Levaquin as a safe antibiotic despite its known association with tendon damage.  The attorney representing the three Levaquin plaintiffs also pointed out that the drug is far more expensive than generic alternatives that have better safety profiles, the Journal said.

In 2008, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) required that the labeling of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics be revised to include a Black Box warning about tendon injuries.  At the time, the  FDA database showed 262 reported cases of tendon ruptures, 259 cases of tendinitis, and 274 cases of other tendon disorders associated with these drugs.  The majority of tendon ruptures – 61 percent – were tied to Levaquin.

The most common tendon injury associated with Levaquin involves the Achilles tendon.  Tendinitis and tendon rupture in the rotator cuff (the shoulder), the hand, the biceps, and the thumb have also been reported.  In some cases, Levaquin tendon ruptures have required surgical repair, and victims have needed to undergo extensive rehab. Tendon rupture can occur during or after completion of a course of Levaquin, although cases occurring up to several months after completion of therapy have been reported.

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