|The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising that the serious side effects associated with fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs generally outweigh the benefits for patients with sinusitis, bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections who have other treatment options. For patients with these conditions, fluoroquinolone should be reserved for those who do not have alternative treatment options.
An FDA safety review has shown that fluoroquinolones when used systemically (i.e. tablets, capsules, and injectable) are associated with disabling and potentially permanent serious side effects that can occur together. These side effects can involve the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system.
As a result, FDA is requiring the drug labels and Medication Guides for all fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs to be updated to reflect this new safety information. Currently available FDA-approved fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs for systemic use include moxifloxacin, ciprofloxacin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin and ofloxacin. FDA is continuing to investigate safety issues with fluoroquinolones and will update the public with additional information if it becomes available.
Patients should contact their health care professional immediately if you experience any serious side effects while taking your fluoroquinolone medicine. Some signs and symptoms of serious side effects include tendon, joint and muscle pain, a “pins and needles” tingling or pricking sensation, confusion, and hallucinations.
Health care professionals should stop systemic fluoroquinolone treatment immediately if a patient reports serious side effects, and switch to a non-fluoroquinolone antibacterial drug to complete the patient’s treatment course.
Please refer to the following website in FDA for details:
In Hong Kong, there are 248 registered pharmaceutical products which are fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs, including 106 ciprofloxacin products, 66 levofloxacin products, 52 ofloxacin products, 9 moxifloxacin products, 11 norfloxacin products, 2 lomefloxacin products, 1 prulifloxacin product and 1 sparfloxacin product. All these products are prescription only medicines. So far, the Department of Health has received one adverse drug reaction case (ADR) in connection with levofloxacin, but it was not related to the serious side effects mentioned in the above announcement. No ADR case has been received for the other fluoroquinolone drugs. In view of the FDA announcement, letters to local healthcare professionals to draw their attention will be issued, and the matter will be discussed by the Registration Committee of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
Ends/ Friday, May 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:00