Powerful Antibiotics Warning

If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t use it. That’s the basic message from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a new warning aimed at patients with less serious bacterial infections.

From NBC News:

The Food and Drug Administration strengthened the warnings about one type of antibiotic Tuesday, saying they’re too strong to be used for sinus infections, bronchitis and simple urinary tract infections.

The drugs are in a class called fluoroquinolones and include levofloxacin (as known as Levaquin) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro). They can cause serious and sometimes permanent side-effects.

“While these drugs are effective in treating serious bacterial infections, an FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluoroquinolones are associated with disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system,” the agency said in a statement.

According to a story in U.S. News & World Report, “A safety review revealed that potentially permanent side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system can occur hours or weeks after exposure to fluoroquinolone pills or injections. Also, two or more serious side effects can occur together, the FDA said. Because of this, the FDA recommends reserving these antibiotics for serious bacterial infections, such as anthrax, plague and bacterial pneumonia.”

The FDA will update its box warning for these antibiotics and will revise the Warnings and Precautions found on the label. Reuters News Agency added that patients will also receive a medication guide that describes the safety issues tied to these drugs.

The use and potential overuse of antibiotics has received a lot of attention recently. Much of that attention stems from the discovery of a superbug gene in the U.S. last year. That gene is believed to be resistant to last resort antibiotics.

Share your thoughts on how the FDA is handling the use of antibiotics and whether you think anything else needs to be done. These are the types of health related conversations we need to encourage among our partners if we hope to one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!


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