Patient advocacy group warning doctors of dangerous drugs, label changes

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A patient advocacy group is taking matters into its own hands after they say the Food and Drug Administration has failed to warn consumers about some potentially dangerous drugs.

The Quinolone Vigilance Foundation (QVF) started a “Dear Doctor” letter campaign to alert doctors to new labeling changes for the antibiotics Levaquin, Cipro or Avelox.

“We aim to send it to every doctor in the United States,” says Rachel Brummert who was prescribed Levaquin.

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The drugs are part of a group of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. They are strong enough to fight anthrax, but have been commonly prescribed for sinus and ear infections.

However, in May the FDA ordered label changes saying the side effects generally outweigh the benefits of these antibiotics.

“They are still commonly prescribed for all kinds of things,” says Jonathan Furman, who was prescribed Cipro.

Furman and Brummert, who have suffered tendon ruptures, anxiety attacks and memory loss from the antibiotics, fear the FDA’s message isn’t getting out.”The FDA has not sent any letters, they have not directed the

“The FDA has not sent any letters, they have not directed the pharmeuticals to send out directives, they have done absolutely nothing,” Brummert said.

f73a887095734655b595b1d8d1da2959Just last month, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was prescribed Levaquin for her pneumonia even though the FDA issued the new warnings months earlier.

“I think my heart dropped out of my chest, I was really upset,” Brummert said.

The doctor letter, which has already gone out to 4,000 doctors and will go to another 6000 this week, alerts health care providers to the disabling adverse reactions like tendon ruptures and permanent nerve damage. The letter also details the FDA’’s labeling changes, which now advises doctors not to prescribe fluoroquinolones for acute sinuitis, chronic bronchitis and urinary tract infections unless there is no other alternative treatment.

“The effects of these drugs are so devastating and insidious, we felt a personal responsibility to do whatever we could to get as much accurate information we could to as many people as possible.”

The FDA tells 8News Bayer, which makes Cipro and ,Avelox, did issue their own letter to health care professionals back in August.

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The FDA updated information online, however, puts responsibility back on the doctor and the patient to educate themselves.

In a statement the FDA tells 8news in part, “we encourage healthcare professionals to familiarize themselves with the label changes and patients to closely read the medication guide provided with their fluoroquinoline prescription.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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