In May 2017, Teva Pharmaceuticals initiated a recall of its schizophrenia drug, Paliperidone. According to a report released by the pharmaceutical company, the drug may not be dissolving properly, which could lead to less-than-sufficient levels of the medication being absorbed by the patient’s body. The potential hazards of such a defect are actually quite serious. If a patient with schizophrenia fails to maintain therapeutic levels of Paliperidone in their system, life-threatening complications can result.
According to a recent report in Medscape Medical News, Paliperidone’s dissolution problem may “reduce effectiveness in treating a patient’s mental and/or mood symptoms including suicidal thoughts and behavior, self-injurious behavior, mental hospitalizations, assaults, and aggressive behavior, as well as vocal and motor tics.” A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective drug.
Dangerous drug defects are shockingly common. Prescription medications are regularly in the news and at the center of lawsuits for dangerous side effects ranging from compulsive gambling to death. Although manufacturers have a duty to perform adequate testing before releasing these drugs onto the market, multiple loopholes exist to allow for fast-track approval processes that may fail to detect life-threatening side effects. For example, if a prescription drug is similar to an existing drug, testing requirements may be waived through one of the FDA’s expedited approval programs. As such, defects often go undetected until multiple patients have reported complications. And in far too many cases it’s too late for these patients.
There are dozens of dangerous prescription drugs still on the market today. Drugs linked to the most serious side effects include:
- Abilify: An antipsychotic used to treat multiple mood disorders, Abilify is linked to compulsive eating, shopping, and gambling, hyper-sexuality, and other serious complications.
- Cipro: This frequently-prescribed antibiotic and other drugs in the fluoroquinolone class are linked to life-threatening side effects, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and peripheral neuropathy (a form of nerve damage)
- Xarelto, Pradaxa, and Eliquis: These blood thinners were hailed as a low-maintenance alternative to their only predecessor, warfarin. Unfortunately, excessive bleeding is a side effect of all blood thinners, and these drugs don’t have an antidote to stop that bleeding.
- Invokana: Proven to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, Invokana is linked to several life-threatening side effects, including kidney failure, heart attack, and a condition called ketoacidosis (the buildup of toxic acids in the bloodstream).
- Risperdal: This drug is prescribed to young men and boys who suffer from bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Although effective at treating these disorders, Risperdal has a particularly-disturbing side effect; male patients have developed breasts while using the drug. In addition to being painful, this condition, called gynecomastia, can be emotionally traumatizing for young men.
- Zofran: An anti-nausea medication originally marketed to chemotherapy patients, Zofran quickly became popular as a way to prevent nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. Unfortunately, the drug – which has been prescribed to countless pregnant women without FDA approval – is now linked to multiple birth defects.