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Is There a Link Between Ciprofloaxin and Peripheral Neuropathy?

Ciprofloaxin (Cipro), an antibiotic medication created by Bayer AG, is the most commonly prescribed drug in the fluoroquinolone class. In 2004, the first warning was published about the potential link between Cipro and a serious medical condition known as peripheral neuropathy. However, it wasn’t until August 2013 that the FDA required Cipro to update its warning labels. Since then, Cipro labels must include warning information about the risk of permanent nerve damage. In 2014, a report published in the journal Neurology determined that peripheral neuropathy risk actually doubles in individuals taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics.


Cipro was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987. It is currently available in three forms; oral, intravenous, and topical. Cipro is by far the most commonly prescribed fluoroquinolone. In fact, in 2011, of the 23 million prescriptions for oral antibiotics in the U.S., 70% were for Cipro. Fluoroquinolones are typically used for the treatment of bacterial infections, respiratory infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and infections of the gastrointestinal system. Cipro can also be used to treat anthrax.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a form of nerve damage that results in injury to the nerves between the brain and spinal cord. There are more than 100 forms of neuropathy. However, Cipro is only associated with neuropathies affecting sensory and motor nerves.

What are sensory nerves? Sensory nerves in the skin and body allow us to tell if an object is rough or smooth / hot or cold. Damage to these nerves can result in various sensory disturbances, as well as an extreme sensitivity to touch, numbness, tingling, and general pain.

What are motor nerves? Motor nerves affect coordination, balance, and muscle control. Damage to motor nerves can significantly affect an individual’s coordination and ability to use the hands and feet. Someone suffering from motor neuropathy may also experience severe muscle weakness, muscle spasms, and difficulty walking.

Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning sensation
  • Freezing sensation
  • Sharp pains
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty walking
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
The FDA Warning

The FDA’s August 2013 safety warning for Cipro advises physicians to immediately stop treatment if patients begin developing nerve damage symptoms. The following statement by the FDA shows its heightened concern about the drug:

“The onset of peripheral neuropathy after starting fluoroquinolone therapy was rapid, often within a few days. In some patients the symptoms had been ongoing for more than a year despite discontinuation of the fluoroquinolone. Several patients were continued on the fluoroquinolone drug despite the occurrence of neuropathic symptoms.”

There are multiple forms of Ciprofloxacin involved in peripheral neuropathy lawsuits. These include:

  • Cipro
  • Cipro XR
  • Cipro XL
  • Cipro Intravenous
  • Ciloxan
  • Proquin
  • Ciproxin
  • Ciflox
  • Baycip

It has been alleged that the manufacturers of Cipro were aware of the potential link between the drug and serious nerve damage for years, yet they neglected to sufficiently warn patients and physicians about the risk.

Other Drugs Linked to Peripheral Neuropathy

Although Cipro is the most common fluoroquinolone, it is not the only brand involved in peripheral neuropathy lawsuits. The FDA also requires updated warning labels on the following drugs:

  • Levaquin
  • Avelox
  • Noroxin
  • Floxin
  • Factive
Altman & Altman, LLP - Boston’s Drug Injury Law Firm

If you feel that you have suffered peripheral neuropathy as a result of taking any type of fluoroquinolone, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs. There is currently no class action lawsuit against the fluoroquinolone manufacturers, however, the attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP will handle each case on an individual basis. Our medical malpractice and drug injury attorneys have nearly 50 years of experience with drug injury cases. Peripheral neuropathy can be a painful, debilitating medical condition, and it can lead to significant medical costs and time off work. If you’ve been injured because of negligent practices that place profit over health, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Altman & Altman, LLP is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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