Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting Cipro Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.
Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is an antibiotic medication that has been associated with cases of peripheral neuropathy — a severe type of nerve damage that can occur within 24 hours and cause permanent disability. Researchers have known about the link between Cipro and peripheral neuropathy for over a decade. In August 2013, the FDA required stronger warnings about this risk.
What is Cipro?
The antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is the most commonly-prescribed drug in the fluoroquinolone class. In 2011, over 16 million Americans were prescribed Cipro, and millions more were given intravenous Cipro in a hospital setting. It was developed by Bayer AG and approved by the FDA in 1987.
Cipro is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections affecting the lungs, skin, urinary tract, abdomen, gastrointestinal system. It is also approved to treat bubonic plague and the inhaled form of anthrax.
Ciprofloxacin Brand-Name Drugs
Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is sold under many brand-names in dozens of countries:
- Cipro XR
- Cipro I.V. (Intravenous)
- Cipro XL
Studies Link Cipro and Peripheral Neuropathy
Researchers have known about the risk of peripheral neuropathy from Cipro for over a decade. In 2001, Annals of Pharmacotherapy investigated 45 cases of peripheral neuropathy in patients on fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including 11 people who were on Cipro.
They found startling evidence of severe, long-term nerve damage — 71% of patients still had symptoms after three months, and 58% still had symptoms after one year. Onset of peripheral neuropathy was usually rapid — within 24 hours in 33% of patients, within 72 hours in 58% of patients, and within one week in 84% of patients.
FDA Warning for Cipro and Peripheral Neuropathy
August 15, 2013 — The FDA Safety Warning for Cipro and Peripheral Neuropathy is an update to a previous warning issued in October 2004.
The FDA is emphasizing that all fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including Cipro, are associated with rare but potentially permanent nerve damage that can occur very rapidly. They specifically recommend that doctors should discontinue Cipro in patients who develop symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
The FDA also cited concerns, including:
“In some patients the symptoms had been ongoing for more than a year despite discontinuation of the fluoroquinolone. Several patients were continued on the fluoroquinolone drug despite the occurrence of neuropathic symptoms.”
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nervous system, which normally carries signals between the brain, spinal cord, organs, and body. Nerve damage can cause paresthesia (abnormal sensation, such as tingling, burning, or pricking). Severe peripheral neuropathy can also cause problems with vital organs (heart, blood vessels, intestines, bladder).
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
- Tingling sensation that starts in the toes and spreads
- Abnormal sense of touch, temperature, pain, textures
- Pain that is shooting, jabbing, and severer
- Numbness (described like wearing a thin stocking or sock)
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased sense of body position and balance
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of fine motor skills (fastening buttons, for example)
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- And more
Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy may improve with treatment, but many people suffer incurable complications that significantly decrease quality of life. Medications may help alleviate symptoms (painkillers, topical anesthetics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, etc.). Over time, nerves can regenerate to some extent, but they may never heal completely. Some people require mobility aids (wheelchair, cane, braces, etc.).