Every year, thousands of people suffer serious side effects and injuries from taking prescription drugs. Drug manufacturers have the duty to provide adequate warnings about potential side effects and to promote safe usage for intended purposes, while physicians are required to exercise care when prescribing a drug to a patient. Negligence on the part of either of these parties can result in harm to the patient. Those who have suffered an injury or illness due to a dangerous prescription drug can seek compensation for their damages with help from a qualifying product liability attorney.
Q: What makes a prescription drug dangerous?
A: A prescription drug can be dangerous in one of two ways: either the user has a bad reaction to it and suffers serious side effects, or s/he uses it for off-brand purposes without knowledge of possible ill effects. If a drug causes dangerous side effects in a substantial amount of patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may either issue a warning to alert the public of the dangers posed by the drug, or pull it from the shelves altogether.
Q: I know of some dangerous drugs that are still on the market. What gives?
A: There a number of reasons why some dangerous drugs are still sold on the market even though they pose clear risks to users. The FDA may not consider the potentially dangerous side effects of the drug to be serious or frequent enough. Or the manufacturer may skew or manipulate their product screening results to make the drug appear less dangerous than it really is.
Q: What are some injuries commonly associated with popular prescription drugs?
A: Many popular prescription drugs have been linked to a wide array of injuries and diseases, including:
- Cancer – Numerous prescription drugs, including the diabetes drug Actos and the birth control injection Depo-Provera, can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
- Cardiovascular Injuries – Severe cardiovascular complications – blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, etc. – can result from the usage of low testosterone therapies and birth control medications.
- Depression and suicidal thoughts – Several popular antidepressant drugs, such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft, as well as the acne medication Accutane may cause patients to experience severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
- Diabetes – While the cholesterol drug Lipitor can reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications, it can also alter some patients’ blood glucose levels, contributing to the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Q: What are some harmful side effects of prescription drugs?
A: Some commonly prescribed drugs with harmful side effects include:
- Antibiotics – Weakened bones, heart issues, and birth defects in some pregnant users
- Antidepressants – Persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) and other serious birth defects
- Antismoking Drugs – Pulmonary valve stenosis, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and other heart conditions in newborns
- Birth Control – Breast cancer, blood clots, and other serious health complications resulting from long time usage
- Diabetes Drugs – Severe organ damage, including renal failure, bladder and pancreatic cancer, and pancreatitis
- Migraine Drugs – Birth defects including cleft lip and cleft palate, spina bifida, and autism
- Painkillers – Growing dependency and even addiction in patients from frequent usage
Q: How can I avoid being harmed by a prescription drug?
A: When prescribed a new medication, speak with your physician about all of the dangers and potential side effects posed by the drug. If you are at an increased risk of facing complications due to a certain condition, do not take the drug and seek out safer alternatives. Also avoid off-brand usage of any prescription drug, even if it is promoted by the manufacturer.
If you have been taking a prescription drug for a long time and only recently found out about its dangerous effects, DO NOT suddenly stop taking the drug, unless your physician tells you to do so. Otherwise, you may experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Q: Who can I sue for my prescription drug injury?
A: If you suffered an injury or illness from a drug because it was defectively designed or manufactured, or you were not aware of its harmful side effects due to insufficient labels and warnings, then you may have a viable product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, wholesaler, and/or distributor. You may have a case against the pharmacist or physician as well if s/he did not prescribe you the proper medication or failed to educate you on its effects.
Q: What damages can I recover in a dangerous drug claim?
A: Depending on the strength of your claim and the extent of the damages you have suffered, you may receive compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost earnings
- Permanent disability
- Physical therapy costs
- Prescription costs
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering