What are Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics?

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics (FLQ) are a category of antibiotics that have been the subject of recent lawsuits because they can cause nerve injury, aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection, and tendon damage.

Some of the most popular are Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Noroxin (norfloxacin), Floxin (ofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin), Factive (gemifloxacin), and Levaquin (levofloxacin).

How are Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics different?


Fluoroquinolone (FLQ) antibiotics are known as “broad spectrum antibiotics”, meaning they have the ability to treat a wide range of diseases caused by bacteria.

FLQ antibiotics contain Fluoride, which is a neurotoxin. It is able to pass easily through sensitive tissues like the brain and the heart. The presence of fluoride is one of the factors that contributes to the dangers of FLQs. While effective at treating bacteria, FLQ antibiotics can cause serious permanent injury.


Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to kill bacteria and control its growth. Resistant bacteria have a greater chance of survival, and can make it more difficult to treat infections.

Antibiotic resistance has increased as antibiotic use has become more widespread. When confronted with resistant bacteria, doctors often prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics like fluoroquinolones. Fluoroquinolones are a powerful class of antibiotic and can be effective for people who already have a resistance to older antibiotics.

The rise in antibiotic resistance has lead to an increase in FLQ prescriptions, exposing thousands of people to the serious side effects of drugs like Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox.

What are Fluoroquinolones used for?

FLQ antibiotics can treat many a variety of bacterial infections but are most often prescribed to treat

  • skin infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • lower respiratory tract infections

They are also commonly prescribed to treat inflammation caused by gonorrhea, sinusitis, or prostate problems.

Some other cases where FLQs are more likely be used over other common antibiotics include:

  • Pneumonia contracted in the hospital (however, use is discouraged if it is contracted from environmental factors)
  • Genitourinary Infections such as pyelonephritis, prostatitis (bacterial), or catheter-induced infection
  • Osteomyelitis in sickle-cell disease
  • Bronchitis
  • Joint and Bone Infections


How Many People Use Fluoroquinolones?

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are currently being prescribed around 26 million times a year. The number of FLQ prescriptions every year has risen from 7 million in to 22 million by 2002.

The number of fluoroquinolone prescriptions continues to rise despite the new safety warnings and lawsuits.

What are the types of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics?

There are six fluoroquinolones approved for use in the United States. These are:

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Levofloxacin (Quixin/Levaquin)
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • Ofloxacin (Floxacin/Ocuflox/Floxin)
  • Gatifloxacin (Tequin)

As well as having the same effects on bacteria, they all share the risk for side effects.

What are the side effects of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics?

Some of the common side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics include vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, and headache. These are common side effects of most drugs, but the serious side effects associated with FLQs are the most troubling.

The serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics include

  • Peripheral nerve damage
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Rupture of tendons and Tendonitis
  • Rupture of the Aorta
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Bleeding or tears in the Aorta
  • Internal bleeding
  • Aortic dissection

In 2008, the FDA decided that fluoroquinolone antibiotics were dangerous enough to warrant additional warnings on all FLQ product labeling. A “black box warning” was added to help inform the public of the possibility of severe side effects.

The black box warning was added to fluoroquinolone labels because of the high risk of ruptured tendons and tendonitis.

Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Dissection from Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

The warning does not cover what could be the most serious side effects of FLQs – aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection. These side effects are very serious and can lead to internal bleeding and even death.

Lawsuits are currently being investigated over these serious side effects. The manufacturers of drugs like Cipro, Levaquin and Avelox provide no warning for aortic side effects and are putting millions of Americans at risk for potentially fatal consequences.

Our dangerous drug lawyers are providing free legal consultations for aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection from fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

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