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Tendon Rupture

Tendon Rupture Related to Levaquin Use


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Levaquin, is a broad spectrum antibiotic also known by its generic name levofloxacin.

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

In July of 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the pharmaceutical giant to include a black box warning on all physician and patient literature pertaining to Levaquin. Information to be contained within the warning related to the risk of tendon rupture with use. The black box warning is the most serious warning that the FDA can place on a drug. The use of Levaquin increases the risk of injury to tendons in patients of all ages. Patients over 60 years old, those taking corticosteroid medications, and those with kidney, heart, or lung transplants have an even higher risk for this type of adverse effect.

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A tendon is a stretchy piece of tissue that connects muscles to bones in the body. If a tendon ruptures, or snaps, it can be extremely painful and potentially result in permanent disability. The most common tendon ruptures occur in the quadriceps, Achilles, rotator cuff, or biceps. A quadriceps rupture occurs within the group of muscles used to extend the leg for walking, running, or jumping. The Achilles tendon is at the back of the foot above the heel, also very important for ambulation. The rotator cuff is in the shoulder where 4 muscles meet and allow for full range of motion at the shoulder. The biceps control flexion of the arm at the elbow and generally ruptures near the shoulder if injury occurs.

Symptoms of tendon rupture may include a "popping" sensation, extreme pain, weakness, sudden bruising, inability to move the affected limb, abnormal appearance of the area, or the inability to bear weight. If a patient suspects a ruptured tendon, apply ice and elevate the affected area, compress the area with a bandage to lessen swelling, and seek medical assistance. Diagnosis of a tendon rupture is usually via x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound.

Non-surgical treatment for a quadriceps rupture may include a cast for 4-6 weeks. Achilles tendon rupture is treated non-surgically by maintaining the foot in a downward pointing position for 4-8 weeks. The rate of re-rupture is 30%. Rotator cuff non-surgical treatment is not the most effective treatment and would consist of immobilization of the shoulder. A biceps rupture would be immobilized for healing. Surgical options for all ruptures include the risks associated with anesthesia as well as infection. Extended healing times and physical therapy should be expected.

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If you, or someone you know, has experienced the rupture of a tendon after taking Levaquin, seek advice from a lawyer.

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