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Tendon Rupture

Levaquin Use and Tendonitis: The Painful Facts


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Levaquin is a broad spectrum antibiotic that may be prescribed by its generic name, levofloxacin.

Levaquin is prescribed for the treatment of bacterial infections of the sinuses or lungs, skin, and urinary tract of adults. The drug is manufactured by the Ortho-McNeil-Janssen subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Pharmaceuticals.

The use of Levaquin has become extremely controversial because of the potential for severe side effects. In July of 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directed the manufacturer to add a black box warning to all literature and packaging of Levaquin. The black box warning is the most stringent warning issued by the FDA and is reserved for drugs with the potential for exceedingly harmful side effects. In this case, patients treated with Levaquin, regardless of health or preexisting conditions, had a significantly increased risk for tendon rupture.

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In addition to the very serious issue of tendon rupture, people taking Levaquin are at risk for tendonitis, a very painful and potentially debilitating condition. A tendon is a ropy, flexible band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendons are crucial for movement. The main tendons affected by Levaquin use are the Achilles at the back of the heel, quadriceps near the knee, rotator cuff in the shoulder, and bicep near the elbow.

Tendonitis, also spelled tendinitis, is the inflammation of the tendon. When the tendon is inflamed, normal muscle movement becomes painful because the normal gliding, smooth motion is impaired. Symptoms may include tenderness right over the tendon, painful movement in the affected area, and swelling. There may also be limitations in the range of motion, especially in the shoulder or heel. Untreated, tendonitis can lead to rupture.

Treatment of tendonitis necessitates limitation of activities that aggravate the inflamed area. Rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and icing the affected area may provide relief. If the condition persists, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, or surgery may be needed to correct the problem.

If the patient has been taking Levaquin or another fluoroquinolone antibiotic, the risk of tendonitis is greatly increased, as is the likelihood of rupture. Tendon rupture is a tearing of the affected tendon. This is extremely painful and may require surgery. Anyone who is taking one of these antibiotics and exhibits symptoms of tendonitis should contact a physician immediately.

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If you, or someone you know, has been afflicted with serious tendonitis or tendon rupture subsequent to taking Levaquin, seek legal assistance to become informed of your right to compensation.

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