Four plaintiffs have filed two new lawsuits against the manufacturers of Levaquin, claiming that the antibiotic caused them a number of tendon difficulties.

Lovie Armstrong, Cecil Brown, Darrell Griggs and Bessie Smith filed their cases in the Madison County circuit court in Illinois. These two new lawsuits name parent company Johnson and Johnson, manufacturer Ortho McNeill and distributor Walgreens as defendants in this latest case against the popular antibiotic. The suits claim that the medicines were marketed directly toward elderly patients, a category already at risk for tendon damage, even though the effects of Levaquin were by that point already well known.

Tendon ruptures are the most commonly-cited reason for Levaquin lawsuits. Such ruptures are very painful, and can be potentially crippling. The patients most frequently prescribed Levaquin, the elderly, are already at risk for such ruptures, and may be poor candidates for rehabilitation and surgical procedures necessary to correct the damage caused by a burst.

Particular threats for tendon ruptures exist in the Achilles tendon. This tendon is under more pressure than any other tendon in the body, supporting as it does the entire weight and balance of the person. Correcting a rupture to it can require being laid up for months at a time, something that the aged are advised to avoid because of risks of infection, pneumonia and peripheral artery disease. Levaquin simply ends up compounding their problems, and yet it is marketed most consistently to them for serious infections in the first place.

The effects of Levaquin are not a new discovery. The drug was accepted for prescription in 1996 — 14 years ago. These side effects have been known about since at least 2000, and possibly earlier. The lawsuits are simply the newest, as many others are still pending, including some that have been consolidated into one class action suit at the federal level.