Recently, a rash of cases has sprung up involving fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics. Marketed under a variety of names like Cipro, Levaquin, or Avelox, these drugs are used to treat a wide variety of infections. Some sources estimate that roughly 26 million Americans are prescribed FQ antibiotics each year for a wide range of ailments, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and more.
According to a Consumer Report, the drugs may cause some serious side effects like aortic aneurysms, nerve damage, or dissections. As the largest blood vessel in the human body, damage to the aorta can cause serious implications for a patient’s health, such as strokes or heart attacks and even death in some serious cases. A dissection happens when the aortic walls deteriorate, which permits blood to seep into the outer layers of tissue. An aneurysm, on the other hand, is a bulging or enlarged part of the aorta. In many situations, these aneurysms have no symptoms and are incredibly difficult to identify. It is often not until the aneurysm bursts that the victim can tell something is wrong. Once it bursts, the victim has a 50 percent chance of surviving the event. For either an aneurysm or an aortic dissection, surgery is often required as well as a lifetime of additional medical treatment and observation.