Generic Levaquin: Is there a Generic for Levaquin?
Although generic versions of Levaquin first appeared in U.S. markets in 2004, immediately following the release of these medications, PriCara — the manufacturers of Levaquin — filed a number of patent lawsuits in the U.S. and Canada to preclude these generics from being sold. According to PriCara, their patent did not end until June 2009. In June 2005, the Federal U.S. Court of Appeals confirmed PriCara's patent and suspended the legal sale of generic Levaquin until June 2009.
However, according to patent legislation passed by the Bush administration, PriCara is entitled to a six-month extension on this patent in order to test Levaquin's safety for children. This effectively extends the Levaquin patent through 2010.
PriCara is a subsidiary of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen. As of 2007, Levaquin:
- Generated about $1.6 billion in revenue for Ortho-McNeil-Janssen (an 8 percent increase from 2006)
- Was the 37 th most prescribed drugs (of the most popular 200) prescribed in the U.S.
- Ranked 19 th in worldwide prescription drug sales
- Was the most prescribed fluoroquinolone medication in the world
When is Levaquin Prescribed?
Known to be a potent antibiotic medication, Levaquin is prescribed to treat a range of serious, potentially fatal bacterial infections, including those affecting the:
- Gastrointestinal system
- Urinary tract
Additionally, Levaquin may be indicated for treating those who have been exposed to anthrax. Levaquin is an oral medication that comes in the form of a tablet or oral solution. It's critical that patients only take Levaquin as directed to prevent the development of serious side effects.
Levaquin Side Effects
Levaquin medicine has been reported to cause a range of mild to serious side effects. The most common side effects of Levaquin are minor, and may include nausea, headache and muscle pain though other problems can arise. However, the antibiotic has also been linked to the development of some more severe injuries such as:
- Acute pancreatitis
- Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (a condition that causes the immune system to attack healthy blood cells)
- Fatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Heart problems
- Irreversible loss of vision, double vision and/or loss of color vision
- Liver and kidney damage
- Myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular disease)
- Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage to the hands and/or feet)
- Rhabdomyolysis (muscle deterioration)
- Severe allergic reaction
- Severe central nervous system (CSN) disorders
- Spontaneous tendon rupture
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS, a separation and death of the skin cells)
- Toxic epidermal necrosis (TEN, a more severe form of SJS)
Drug Interactions: Zinc Reduces Action of Levaquin
Levaquin patients can develop the above life-threatening side effects for a number of reasons — one of which is negative drug interactions. Drugs known to negatively react with Levaquin include:
- Antacids containing magnesium or aluminum
- Vitamins or herbs containing iron or zinc
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