On November 15, 2011, another Levaquin lawsuit was filed in which the manufacturer of the drug, Johnson & Johnson, was accused of hiding the risks of tendon ruptures occurring in elderly patients. In fact, the lawsuit specifically accused J&J of targeting the elderly as its primary customers for the drug.

Making the elderly the drug’s primary consumer base, as the lawsuit alleges, is especially problematic because studies show that Levaquin increases the risk of tendon ruptures when taken by the elderly — particularly if they are also taking corticosteroids. The claim of the plaintiff in this recent Levaquin lawsuit, Kathleen Y. Solie, was immediately referred to the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, where the current MDL is taking place. The MDL is being presided over by Judge John R. Tunheim.

Solie’s lawyer pointed out a couple of things in her complaint. For example, the fact that tendinitis is a side effect of fluoroquinolones was first brought to light in 1983, and the first lawsuit was filed in 1991. Then in 1995, the UK’s Regulatory Authority issued a warning about Levaquin that said “Elderly patients and those treated concurrently with corticosteroids were particularly at risk of tendon damage.”

By 1996, J&J changed Levaquin’s warning label after being forced to by the FDA. But Solie’s lawyer maintains that the warnings weren’t good enough since adverse event reports showed that tendon injury risks were almost three times worse for seniors. Solie’s lawyer said, rather than “warn that the risk of tendon injury was increased (tripled) in the elderly, J&J’s warning stated that the risk was possibly increased in those using corticosteroids.”

It is for this reason that Solie’s claim alleges that consumers may have been led to believe that there was no added tendon injury risk in taking Levaquin if the patients didn’t already take corticosteroids. Clearly the thousands of Levaquin lawsuits being filed show that this is simply not the case.