Cipro is an antibiotic with a great track record for treating Anthrax. It is one of the drugs that the federal government has stockpiled in case of a bioterrorist attack. It’s also used for urinary tract infections.
It is one of the drug group called fluoroquinolones, with extra potency. The FDA has asked the manufacturer, Bayer, to add a black box warning that it could cause severe tendon ruptures. Another drug in that group is Levaquin, made by Ortho-McNeil, often used for respiratory infections.
- The fluoroquinolone eyedrops used for eye infections are not included in this warning.
Tendons are the tough connective tissue connecting bones to muscles. If you have been using Cipro or Levaquin, and notice any slight tendon pain, contact your doctor immediately, and stop using the drug. Another antibiotic can be prescribed for you. If a tendon were to rupture, the attached muscle would be unable to move.
FDA Sued for This Warning
This FDA move came after a two-year interchange between the FDA and a consumer group called Public Citizen. The group petitioned for the warning two years ago, but the FDA responded that a warning about risk of tendon rupture was already clearly on the drug paperwork and could be seen by all doctors and patients.
Apparently several hundred reports of tendon ruptures were subsequently sent to the FDA. A spokesman for Public Citizen states that the exact number is 407 as of the end of 2007, plus 341 reports of tendonitis. In his opinion, the FDA should be sending individual letters to all doctors about such risks. But how much would our taxes have to be raised to finance such a mammoth undertaking? The FDA spokesman replied that such an effort is up to the drug manufacturers.
Public Citizen sued the FDA at some unknown date. Bayer and Ortho-McNeil have emphasized that tendon ruptures rarely happen, but they are complying with the FDA’s order and still think that the benefits outweigh the risks with these two drugs.