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Levaquin and Other Risky Antibiotics
Levaquin, which was a best selling antibiotic in 2010, it and similar antibiotics can have dangerous side effects, especially for older patients.
Fluoroquinolones or quinolones are a class of powerful and popular antibiotics that includes:
In general, fluoroquinolones should only be used for lymphedema related cellulitis after other antibiotic options have been exhausted. See Cellulitis is Treated with Antibiotics.
The FDA requires a black box warning on fluoroquinolones to highlight the risks of side effects including:
Risks of side effects are increased for older patients.
Tell Your Doctor
Before your health care provider decides which antibiotic to prescribe, be sure they know:
Risks of Tendon Rupture
Pain, swelling, inflammation, and tears of tendons including the Achilles, shoulder, hand, or other tendons can happen in patients taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Tendons are the areas that connect your muscles to your joints. The Achilles tendon is at the back of the ankle.
The chance of having tendon problems is higher if you are:
Other reasons for tendon ruptures include:
Precautions While Taking Fluoroquinolones
Ask your healthcare provider for written instructions on how and when to take your medications. Follow these instructions carefully.
Call your healthcare provider right away at the first signs or symptoms of pain, swelling or inflammation in a tendon area. These could be symptoms of tendinitis or tendon rupture. Stop taking your fluoroquinolone until a healthcare provider has determined that you do not have tendinitis or a tendon rupture.
Signs or symptoms of tendon rupture include:
At the first sign of pain, swelling, or inflammation in a tendon area, avoid exercise and use of the affected area.
Protect your skin from exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet light. Fluoroquinolones and other antibiotics may make your skin very sensitive to light (phototoxicity).
If you are diabetic, monitor your blood glucose levels and seek treatment if you are not able to keep them in the normal range.
Food and Drug Administration. Information for Healthcare Professionals: Fluoroquinolone Antimicrobial Drugs [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), and ofloxacin (marketed as Floxin)]. Updated: 05/29/2010. www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/postmarketdrugsafetyinformationforpatientsandproviders/ucm126085.htm
Brody, Jane. “Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects” New York Times, September 10, 2012. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/popular-antibiotics-may-carry-serious-side-effects/
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