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Levaquin: Tendon Injuries and Litigation Update

The makers of Levaquin (generic: levofloxacin) are currently embroiled in litigation, with 83 federal cases consolidated before Judge Tunheim of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Federal cases were transferred to Minnesota almost a year ago. Currently, the Court and the parties are working on case-specific discovery for agreed-upon cases, from which bellwether cases will be selected. Frequently, bellwether trials give the parties a good idea of what juries think of the litigation and often provide momentum for settlement of the remainder of cases.

As background, Levaquin is a form of antibiotic, primarily used to treat specific bacterial infections of the lung, sinus, skin, and urinary tract. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals (part of Johnson & Johnson) now warns on their website:

Fluoroquinolones, including LEVAQUIN™, are associated with an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture in all ages. This risk is further increased in older patients usually over 60 years of age, in patients taking corticosteroid drugs, and in patients with kidney, heart, or lung transplants.

The lawsuits pending allege that Levaquin causes rupture of tendons and tendon damage in the rotator cuff, Achilles tendon, biceps, thumb, and hand. The FDA required a black box warning, the most stringent warning the government can order, on July 8, 2008. The evidence shows that the company had received petitions to include a warning about these injuries since at least 1996.

Though there are only about 83 cases pending in the MDL, other cases exist in state courts in New Jersey (which may be consolidated soon) and elsewhere. Plaintiffs believe that thousands of potential cases may exist, especially considering the FDA’s database which contains 262 reported cases of tendon ruptures, 259 cases of tendonitis, and 274 cases of other tendon injuries, all involving the use of Levaquin (or generic) use.

Our lawyers are investigating Levaquin and levofloxacin-related injuries. If you want to speak with a Levaquin lawyer about potential lawsuits involving tendon injuries, call 888-322-3010.