More than 60,000 reports have been sent to the FDA of patients detailing side effects associated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, according to an article published in the journal Nature. Although more than 6,500 deaths are included in the report, side effects associated with these antibiotics are rarely reviewed or studied.
Such antibiotics include Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin) and Floxin (ofloxacin).
The article discusses research coverage for fluoroquinolone antibiotics and indicates that analysts don’t know why the drugs cause “rare but disabling” side effects. The piece also suggests that drug manufacturers have very little interest in researching medications that have been on the market for decades, which is partly due to the fact that there are no incentives offered for researching profitable drugs.
Also, some researchers have avoided publishing studies that critically evaluate and go against drug companies because they fear that the well-funded pharmaceutical companies may retaliate.
There are 3 black-box warnings on all fluoroquinolones, cautioning that the drugs can cause a tendon rupture, permanent nerve damage and worsen myasthenia gravis – a neuromuscular and autoimmune disease. In the past 5 years alone, the FDA has updated fluoroquinolone labeling 20 times.