Post-marketing reports of severe hepatotoxicity (including acute hepatitis and fatal events) have been received for patients treated with levofloxacin. No evidence of serious drug-associated hepatotoxicity was detected in clinical trials of over 7,000 patients. Severe hepatotoxicity generally occurred within 14 days of initiation of therapy and most cases occurred within 6 days. Most cases of severe hepatotoxicity were not associated with hypersensitivity [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.6) ]. The majority of fatal hepatotoxicity reports occurred in patients 65 years of age or older and most were not associated with hypersensitivity. Levofloxacin should be discontinued immediately if the patient develops signs and symptoms of hepatitis [ see Adverse Reactions ( 6); Patient Counseling Information ( 17.3) ].
Clostridium difficile -associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including levofloxacin, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.
C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.
If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibiotic use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibiotic treatment of C. difficile , and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated [ see Adverse Reactions ( 6.2), Patient Counseling Information ( 17.3) ].
Some fluoroquinolones, including levofloxacin, have been associated with prolongation of the QT interval on the electrocardiogram and infrequent cases of arrhythmia. Rare cases of torsade de pointes have been spontaneously reported during postmarketing surveillance in patients receiving fluoroquinolones, including levofloxacin. Levofloxacin should be avoided in patients with known prolongation of the QT interval, patients with uncorrected hypokalemia, and patients receiving Class IA (quinidine, procainamide), or Class III (amiodarone, sotalol) antiarrhythmic agents. Elderly patients may be more susceptible to drug-associated effects on the QT interval [ see Adverse Reactions ( 6.3), Use in Specific Populations ( 8.5), and Patient Counseling Information ( 17.3) ].
Levofloxacin is indicated in pediatric patients (6 months of age and older) only for the prevention of inhalational anthrax (post-exposure) and for plague [ see Indications and Usage ( 1.7, 1.8)]. An increased incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (arthralgia, arthritis, tendinopathy, and gait abnormality) compared to controls has been observed in pediatric patients receiving levofloxacin [ see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.4) ].
In immature rats and dogs, the oral and intravenous administration of levofloxacin resulted in increased osteochondrosis. Histopathological examination of the weight-bearing joints of immature dogs dosed with levofloxacin revealed persistent lesions of the cartilage. Other fluroquinolones also produce similar erosions in the weight-bearing joints and other signs of arthropathy in immature animals of various species [ see Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology ( 13.2) ].
As with other fluoroquinolones, disturbances of blood glucose, including symptomatic hyper- and hypoglycemia, have been reported with levofloxacin, usually in diabetic patients receiving concomitant treatment with an oral hypoglycemic agent (e.g., glyburide) or with insulin. In these patients, careful monitoring of blood glucose is recommended. If a hypoglycemic reaction occurs in a patient being treated with levofloxacin, levofloxacin should be discontinued and appropriate therapy should be initiated immediately [ see Adverse Reactions ( 6.2); Drug Interactions ( 7.3); Patient Counseling Information ( 17.4) ].
Moderate to severe photosensitivity/phototoxicity reactions, the latter of which may manifest as exaggerated sunburn reactions (e.g., burning, erythema, exudation, vesicles, blistering, edema) involving areas exposed to light (typically the face, “V” area of the neck, extensor surfaces of the forearms, dorsa of the hands), can be associated with the use of fluoroquinolones after sun or UV light exposure. Therefore, excessive exposure to these sources of light should be avoided. Drug therapy should be discontinued if photosensitivity/phototoxicity occurs [ see Adverse Reactions ( 6.3) ; Patient Counseling Information ( 17.3) ].
Prescribing levofloxacin in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria [see Patient Counseling Information ( 17.2)].
The following serious and otherwise important adverse drug reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of labeling:
• Disabling and Potentially Irreversible Serious Adverse Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)]
• Tendinitis and Tendon Rupture [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.2)]
• Peripheral Neuropathy [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3)]
• Central Nervous System Effects [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.4)]
• Exacerbation of Myasthenia Gravis [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.5)]
• Other Serious and Sometimes Fatal Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.6)]
• Hypersensitivity Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.7)]
• Hepatotoxicity [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.8)]
• Clostridium difficile-Associated Diarrhea [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.9)]
• Prolongation of the QT Interval [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.10)]
• Musculoskeletal Disorders in Pediatric Patients [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.11)]
• Blood Glucose Disturbances [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.12)]
• Photosensitivity/Phototoxicity [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.13)]
• Development of Drug Resistant Bacteria [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.14)]
Crystalluria and cylindruria have been reported with quinolones, including levofloxacin. Therefore, adequate hydration of patients receiving levofloxacin should be maintained to prevent the formation of a highly concentrated urine [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.5)].
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