Class action alleges antibiotic causes tendon damage

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 15, 2010, 3:21am

An antibiotic sold since 1997 is the subject of a proposed class action that argues the drug causes a higher incidence of tendon injuries.

Levaquin, a broad spectrum fluoroquinolone antibiotic, is marketed as a first-line therapy for common bronchitis and sinusitis infections. It is also approved for the use in treatment of various upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, prostatitis and other bacterial infections.

During 2008, Lisa Presley, 31, began taking Levaquin. During her treatment, she claims that she began to suffer from Achilles tendonitis. She says her injuries are severe and permanent.

On behalf of herself and others similar situated, Presley filed suit against Johnson and Johnson, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development LLC on April 8 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

The lawsuit states that "Levaquin ... induced tendon injury involves the degradation of the tendon tissue, leading to severe and permanent injuries."

Causes of action filed against the defendants include negligence, strict product liability for manufacturing and/or design defect and for failure to warn, breach of express and implied warranties for the design, manufacture, production, testing, study, inspection, labeling, marketing, advertising, sales, promotion, and distribution of the drug, fraud, unjust enrichment and violation of consumer protection laws.

The complaint argues that Levaquin is in a class of antibiotics, fluoroquinolones, which are associated with serious side effects. Previous drugs within this class have been removed from the market.

Although the drug contained a warning regarding the risks of tendon injury and rupture, including a warning about the drug's increased risks while using corticosteroids, the lawsuits argue that the labeling did not accurately portray the risks.

Presley is seeking damages for medical expenses, loss of income, permanent disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment.

The plaintiff is represented by Christopher T. Kirchmer and Thomas H. McGowan both of Provost Umphrey Law Firm LLP.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone is assigned to the litigation.

Case No 1:10cv00200

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