Drug safety officials on July 8, 2008, imposed the government’s most urgent warning on Cipro and similar antibiotics. Officials cited evidence that they may lead to tendon ruptures, a serious injury which can leave patients incapacitated and needing extensive surgery.
The FDA ordered makers of flouroquinolone drugs — a potent class of antibacterials — to add a very visible “black box” warning to their products and write new literature warning patients.
The two leading drugs covered by the warning are Bayer’s Cipro and Ortho-McNeil’s Levaquin. Cipro became a household name during the hysteria after the anthrax attacks of 2001. Cipro is thought to be effective against that bacteria, and it’s among the medications stockpiled by the government. In everyday medicine, Cipro is often used to treat urinary tract infections. Levaquin is generally used to treat respiratory infections.