The pneumonic plague, or “black death,” has been around since the 14th century, and was once the most feared medical condition known to man. The disease has been widely viewed as an historical condition that doesn’t exist anymore; however, that is not really the case. The plague is still around, but it is often unreported. That may change now that the FDA has recently approved the antibiotic medication Levaquin as a treatment for the plague. Levaquin can also be used as a preventative measure for caregivers.

The plague is a lot like the pneumonia in its effects, and is widely treated with various antibiotics. Now that Levaquin has been added as one of them, some may be wondering if that is a good idea. While Levaquin is one of the most popular antibiotics on the market today, it is also linked to a lot of controversy due to the drug’s side effects. Some of the side effects that have been linked to Levaquin include tendon ruptures and rotator cuff tears. While these side effects seem like little to worry about in the face of the plague, it should be considered that these conditions can be debilitating and leave patients with a severely diminished quality of life — not to mention lingering medical costs.

The tendon rupture side effects are serious enough to have caused the FDA to issue a black box warning (the strongest warning the FDA can issue) against the drug. Thousands of Levaquin lawsuits have been filed against the makers of the drug after plaintiffs complained that the manufacturers didn’t properly warn them of the tendon risks. Levaquin tendon ruptures are more likely to occur in patients over 65 years of age and those who are taking corticosteroids. This could make treatment for the plague severely debilitating for senior patients and subject them to a debilitated lifestyle.