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Antibiotic Avelox Linked to Serious Adverse Side Effects

Aug 15, 2016

A recent report published in Quarter Watch, a publication of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) that reviews reports concerning drug-related adverse events made to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), revealed that fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Avelox, were most frequently linked to persistent adverse effects.

Persistent and potentially long term problems related to Avelox include joint, muscle or tendon disorders, with pain and discomfort. These side effects were reported to be disabling in 65 percent of the reported cases.

Annually, fluoroquinolones account for 26 million prescriptions in the U.S. The ISMP report states that in the fourth quarter of 2015, fluoroquinolones ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin accounted for over 9 million prescriptions alone. Avelox (moxifloxacin) was approved by the FDA in 1999 and is the third most frequently prescribed fluoroquinolone in the country.

Despite such serious side effects, some of which may continue after the patient stops using Avelox, injuries may include aortic issues such as aneurysm or dissection, peripheral neuropathy, or tendon ruptures that can leave patients with permanent damage.

An FDA warning was issued in May 2016 addressing the problems associated with Avelox. The FDA currently advises doctors and patients that "the serious side effects associated with fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs generally outweigh the benefits for patients with acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections who have other treatment options." In addition, the agency mandated that new safety information be added to the labeling for all quinolones.

Another severe, although rare, side effect connected to Avelox is Stevens Johnson Syndrome, where patients suffer from a rash that forms blisters within the affected area(s). This condition may damage the mucous membrane lining in the inside of the eyelid that may put patients at risk for permanent blindness.

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