Every use of a prescription medication is a matter of exchanging one factor for another. Chemotherapy in particular is a race between how fast the medicine debilitates the cancer and how fast it debilitates the patient. The same is true of every medicine — each pill or shot has a side effect that does undesirable things to the body, and doctors and patients must decide if the tradeoff is worth it.
Levaquin has come to represent the severity that this tradeoff can entail. It’s considered a highly effective medicine that can beat down some of the toughest possible infections, but it has increasingly been demonstrated to have catastrophic, life-altering effects on prescribed patients’ joints and connective tissues. Patients have been crippled by the medicine, and filed numerous high-stakes lawsuits in order to reclaim damages lost as a result of taking the pill for their infections.
Now there is new information coming out that suggests there may be even less reason to rely on such a high-risk medicine. Superbugs have been in the news for a few years now, being various strains of bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics that are commonly prescribed or overprescribed. These strains result from patients being treated with a medicine that takes out the majority of a certain group of bacteria, but leaves behind those that can ignore the medicine. Since these resistant strains can now grow unchecked, future doses don’t accomplish anything.
This is tough news for the makers of Levaquin in particular. If Levaquin is prescribed to a patient who has a resistant strain of bacteria, then the antibiotic effect of the medicine will not work, but the damaging side effects on the body’s connective tissue will remain. In short, Levaquin’s efficacy has begun losing the race versus its debilitating effects on patient health.