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Label on Family of Antibiotics May Not List All the Side Effects

Aug 5, 2015

Fluoroquinolones are a family of antibiotics that include drugs such as Levaquin and Cipro. These medications are widely used but recent reports suggest that the current label may not include all of the potential risks. According to ABC Action News, a search of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database shows that Levaquin, Cipro and other similar drugs are linked to 3,000 reports of deaths and 200,000 complaints.

The antibiotics already carry a black box warning, the most serious type of warning, on the label. The FDA added the warning in 2013 to include the risk of ruptured tendons and nerve damage. However, there are reports of other possible side effects not included on the label. ABC Action News reports that a 2013 FDA study cited a potential link to mitochondrial toxicity.

Since mitochondria are responsible for cellular respiration, mitochondrial toxicity can damage a cell and cause it lose function. "Mitochondria, they are the gas tank," said Dr. Charles Bennett, a drug researcher with the University of South Carolina. "You have no mitochondria, that means there is no gas in the tank and your body cannot function." Dr. Bennett filed a petition with the FDA last summer calling for the warning to be expanded.

An FDA spokesperson told ABC Action News, "We are considering the matters raised by the petition and giving it our careful attention,"

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