"The FDA report states the approved pediatric labeling of Levaquin is for treatment of inhalation of anthrax and plague in patients 6 months of age and older. According to the CDC, in recent decades, an average of one to 17 cases human plague cases have been reported each year; that would mean an estimation of 51 cases from 2011-2014. Yet, in the FDA report, 17.6 million patients received a prescription for oral levofloxacin tablets from U.S. pharmacies from April 2011 through March 2014."
“Why do we have this high amount? It’s a great question, and we are very concerned," says Bennett.
Levaquin is made by Janssen pharmaceuticals, who’s owned by American Pharmaceutical Company Johnson & Johnson. Generic levofloxacin is still available on the market according to Bennett. But Bennett also discussed Janssen’s recent decision to halt distribution of Levaquin, citing its adverse side effects including depression.
“Plus tendon ruptures, Achilles tendon ruptures, shoulder ruptures." The list goes on, says Bennett.
These adverse effects, are similar to symptoms seen in the polio-like illness, Accute flaccid myelitis, known as AFM according to Bennett. He says there could be a connection between the two.
“We’ve talked to several patients, unexpectedly by us, whose children are getting very sick [with symptoms] and have been given Levaquin," says Bennett.
“Some of them have passed away.”
As the CDC reports—with no known cause, vaccine, or treatment—AFM cases are continuing to grow. As of November 8th, there are now at 80 cases this year. Bennett hopes—with more known knowledge of Levaquin—and its possible connection—medical emergencies and even death can be prevented in any medical diagnosis.
“The risks outweigh the benefits," says Bennett.
Dr. Charles Bennett, MD, PHd, MPP, has done extensive research through his years on Levquin and other notable drugs, currently is based out of the University of South Carolina.
Covered by Chandler Morgan (COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)| November 9, 2018 at 10:27 AM EST - Updated November 15 at 10:22 AM