Research we're watching
In December 2018, the FDA issued a warning about certain antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, a drug class that includes ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin (Levaquin). The drugs are associated with rare ruptures or tears in the body's main artery, the aorta, which can cause serious, sometimes fatal bleeding. Cases were reported in people taking these antibiotics orally or by injection.
Because of this risk, the FDA is advising doctors to try to avoid prescribing these antibiotics to people who are at higher risk for problems with the aorta, unless there are no other antibiotics available to treat the infection. This includes people who have high blood pressure, certain genetic disorders (such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome), or a history of arterial blockages or aneurysms.
The FDA issued a separate warning in July 2018, alerting people that this same category of antibiotics could raise the risk of rapid drops in blood sugar and certain mental health side effects.
If your doctor prescribes a fluoroquinolone to treat your condition, be certain to ask about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to taking the medication.
Image: © grThirteen/Thinkstock
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.