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Fluoroquinolones such as Levaquin (levofloxacin), Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin), Noroxin (norflxacin), Floxin (ofloxacin) and Factive (gemifloxacin) are among the most frequently prescribed antibiotics and the number of prescriptions continues to rise. In 1995, flu
oroquinolones were prescribed in 7 million visits in the U.S. By 2002, the fluoroquinolones prescriptions rose to 22 million visits. Forty-two percent of fluoroquinolones prescriptions were for non-approved diagnoses.
It is not likely that these fluoroquinolones will be removed from the market anytime soon as bacterial resistance to antibiotics has made the need for more powerful antibiotics necessary. However, consideration is being made by the FDA to restrict Levaquin usage to life-threateni
ng diseases only and there is hope that the public may soon be warned of the risks associated with fluoroquinolone use.
Two epidemiological studies published in November 2015 linked the use of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones to aortic dissection and aneurysms, each major, life-threatening disorders.
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body that is responsible for carrying blood from the heart to all of the body’s major organs, except the lungs. The aorta begins at the heart and curves to the back and then runs down the back of the chest into the abdomen.
Aortic dissections occur when the inner layer or lining of the aorta tears and allows blood to enter in the walls of the aorta, “dissecting” or separating the layers of the aorta from one another. This decreases the strength of the aorta and the aorta may actually burst or leak,
which can be life-threatening.
Aortic aneurysms are unusual bulging or enlargement of the aorta. Aneurysms are easily understood if you compare them to an old garden hose that has been weakened over time. The bigger the weakened area becomes, the more likely the hose is to bursting. In the worst-case scenario,
the aorta blows open and spills a patient’s entire circulating blood resulting in sudden death. In less dramatic cases, the patient becomes symptomatic and tests will reveal the aneurysm.
When an aneurysm occurs in the abdomen it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and when it occurs in the chest it is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA).
Both aortic dissections and aortic aneurysms are life-threatening and need to be diagnosed immediately in order for appropriate treatment to be successful. Diagnosis can be made with a CT scan in a matter of minutes. Aortic aneurysms may be caught during a routine physical exam b
ecause the bulging aorta would be painful to touch during a routine exam. While taking Levaquin or other antibiotics, it is important to talk to your doctor about changes in your health. In other situations, aneurysms are found during ultrasounds, echocardiographs, MRIs and angio
People who have a long-term history of smoking are 3 to 5 times more likely to develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Abdominal aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections are more common in men (about two-thirds of those effected by aortic dissections are men). On the other hand, thoracic aortic aneurysms are found equally amongst men and women, with risk increasing as individuals age.
In, 2008, the FDA issued a warning and required a black box warning about the risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture on fluoroquinolones. Tendon rupture and tendonitis are collagen-related disorders and it is likely that the same collagen weakening that increases the risk of tendon damage is increasing the normal risk for aneurysm-related dilation and dissection.
Researchers studying data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) According to researcher Chien-Chang Lee, MD of National Taiwain University Hospital,
“As fluoroquinolones may induce degradation of collagen causing tendinopathy, this raises the concern that fluoroquiniolnes may cause or aggravate aortic aneurysm and dissection by a similar mechanism.”
The researchers noted that the increased use of Levaquin (levofloxacin), Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin), Noroxin (norflxacin), Floxin (ofloxacin) and Factive (gemifloxacin) makes this a significant concern.