While Levaquin Is Just One Of Several Antibiotics In Fluoroquinolone Class, All Of Which Have Been Linked To Tendon Ruptures, Levaquin Has Most Tendon Injury Lawsuits Filed To Date
(Posted by Tom Lamb at DrugInjuryWatch.com)
UPDATE: For recent developments regarding personal injury lawsuits that involve Levaquin and tendon-related side effects, visit the Levaquin Information page over at our Drug Injury Law web site. (7/30/09)
In late August 2006 the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen filed a petition with the FDA requesting that the agency order certain drug companies to put a "black-box" warning about the risks of tendon rupture that have been associated with a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. Some of these antibiotics are Ortho-McNeil's Levaquin as well as Bayer's Cipro and Avelox products.
In January 2008 Public Citizen filed a lawsuit intended to force the FDA to decide whether this stronger warning should be added to antibiotics such Levaquin as well as Cipro and Avelox.
On July 8, 2008 the FDA announced that a so-called "black-box" warning would be added to the package insert, or label, to strengthen existing warnings about the increased risk of developing tendinitis and tendon rupture associated with the following fluoroquinolones:
Ciprofloxacin (marketed as Cipro and generic ciprofloxacin)
Ciprofloxacin extended release (marketed as Cipro XR and Proquin XR)
Gemifloxacin (marketed as Factive)
Levofloxacin (marketed as Levaquin)
Moxifloxacin (marketed as Avelox)
Norfloxacin (marketed as Noroxin)
Ofloxacin (marketed as Floxin and generic ofloxacin)
While the tendon rupture and tendinitis side effects have been associated with all of these fluoroquinolone class antibiotics, Levaquin has drawn the most lawsuits, by far, to date.
All Levaquin tendon rupture lawsuits filed in federal court have been assigned to MDL No. 08-1943, which is presided over by the Honorable John R. Tunheim, in the District of Minnesota. The first test case, or bellwether, trial for the Levaquin MDL is scheduled currently for August 2010.
More recently, there has been a request of so-called "mass-tort treatment" made for a growing number of Levaquin lawsuits filed in the New Jersey state court system.
From a May 13, 2009 Law.com article, "Levaquin Tendon Injury Mass Tort Treatment Sought for Suits Over Ortho-McNeil Antibiotic Levaquin":
Users of Levaquin, an antibiotic linked to muscle ailments, are asking the New Jersey Supreme Court to accord mass-tort treatment to their suits against the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc.
Acting Administrative Director of the Courts Glenn Grant made the application public in a notice to the Bar that solicits comments on or before June 5.
We expect that the New Jersey Levaquin litigation will be given the requested mass-tort designation and that the number of Levaquin lawsuits filed in New Jersey will increase -- especially if the New Jersey cases are assigned to Judge Carol Higbee in Atlantic County. (As some will recall, Judge Higbee was in charge of the NJ Vioxx mass-tort litigation.)
We will continue to monitor developments concerning the Levaquin litigation, both in the federal court MDL and in the NJ state court system.
P.S. On June 16, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court designated all pending and future Levaquin litigation in the New Jersey Superior Court as a mass tort and assigned it for centralized management to Judge Carol E. Higbee in Atlantic County. (7/17/09)