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People suffering from depression and bipolar disorder may be prescribed Abilify, an antipsychotic drug meant to help reduce the negative symptoms of these emotional disorders. Unfortunately, the side effects of Abilify may be significantly worse than the symptoms it’s intended to treat. From hyper-sexuality to compulsive gambling, Abilify has been linked to multiple compulsive behaviors, many of which can ruin a person’s life.

One woman lost her home and custody of her children after developing a gambling habit while on Abilify. The mother of two claims she had never had a gambling problem before being prescribed the drug. Her compulsion to gamble while on Abilify was so strong that she missed multiple flights because she couldn’t pull herself away from the casino. “I had to reschedule the first flight I missed and then I went back to the machine waiting for the second flight and I ended up missing that as well,” said the woman, who estimates that she lost  up to $2 million due to her gambling habit, in less than five years. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine whether to file a lawsuit if you’ve experienced similar side effects while on Abilify.

Abilify affects the brain’s dopamine production to reduce negative symptoms of conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder, but it may create an overabundance of dopamine in some patients. Dopamine receptors crave pleasure, which is why Abilify may lead people to gambling, compulsive shopping, hyper-sexuality, and overeating. “I gained about 70 pounds and then lost it subsequently after stopping Abilify,” said the woman, who admits to becoming involved in prostitution as well. “Something I’m ashamed of and embarrassed by.” She claims that following a 2012 move to Colorado, her new doctor refused to prescribe Abilify, and the compulsive behaviors stopped. It was then that she made the connection between the prescription medication and her compulsivity.

FDA Warning Came Too Late For Some

In response to these claims, the FDA finally issued an announcement in May 2016 warning that, “compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex have been reported with the use of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada, and generics). These uncontrollable urges were reported to have stopped when the medicine was discontinued or the dose was reduced.”

Although the warning was issued, it was far too late for some. European patients learned about the link between Abilify and compulsive behaviors back in 2012, when Europe issued a public warning. American patients weren’t clued in for another four years. For patients like the woman above, Abilify may have ruined their lives. If you suffered harmful side effects while taking Abilify or any other prescription drug, contact a MA drug injury lawyer today.

According to the FDA, about 1.6 million Americans were prescribed Abilify in 2015. The drug is still on the shelves, but with the new warning, patients can now decide if they are willing to take the risk. If you are currently taking Abilify or any other form of the drug aripiprazole, you may want to speak with your doctor about the potential side effects. Continue reading

Surgeries for hernia repairs are extremely common in the United States. In fact, about 500,000 surgical repairs are performed annually. Unfortunately, the hernia mesh devices used in many repairs are linked to multiple serious injuries, including organ perforation and bowel obstruction. If you have been harmed due to a mesh implant, the information below will help you determine whether to seek the counsel of a Boston hernia mesh injury lawyer.

Hernia mesh works by covering or “plugging” the areas of weakened muscle in the abdomen. There are several different types of hernia mesh, including those made from synthetic materials and those made from biologic materials. Synthetic mesh is typically made of polypropylene, composite mesh, or polyester fibers whereas biologic mesh is derived from animal or even human tissue.

Complications Related to Hernia Mesh Products

In the past decade, hernia mesh products have faced increased scrutiny about the harm that they may cause to patients who are fitted with them. Hernia mesh products are intended to support weakened muscle to help a hernia heal, and prevent it from re-erupting. Studies have shown that hernia mesh products do indeed lessen the likelihood of reoccurrence of hernias.

However, studies have also started to reveal that hernia mesh products can cause serious, and in some cases life-threatening, complications to patients that are fitted with them. The most serious of which include nerve damage, fistulas (an abnormal connecting together of organs that are meant to remain separated), bowel blockages and negative autoimmune reactions when the body rejects the mesh.

Ethicon is a subsidiary company underneath the umbrella of pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson. The company has manufactured surgical sutures and wound closure devices since 1887. They are responsible for about 80 percent of the total United States market share of surgical sutures and are present in 52 countries worldwide.

According to a recently-released report by the news organization ProPublica, manufacturers of the anticoagulant (blood thinner) Xarelto made more physician payments than any other drug company in 2015. Physician payments were made for promotional speaking, travel, gifts, and meals. But not for research. Past studies have shown that when physicians receive payments from a drug manufacturer, they tend to prescribe more of that manufacturer’s drugs than those who do not. Considering the high risk of serious, potentially life-threatening side effects linked to Xarelto, this is certainly cause for concern.

Each year, ProPublica gathers information about payments made by pharmaceutical companies to physicians for promos, travel, royalties, etc. Across the board, pharmaceutical and medical device companies made approximately $2 billion in physician payments in 2014 and 2015, with Xarelto payments taking the cake in 2015. ProPublica’s study is not the only one to find that these payments result in higher prescriptions of related drugs. Researchers at Harvard Medical School had similar findings in 2016. In a study of medical industry payments to physicians in Massachusetts, they found that for every $1,000 a physician received, his or her rate of prescribing the associated drug increased by 0.1 percent. If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective pharmaceutical, contact a Boston drug injury lawyer today.

Xarelto Linked to Excessive Bleeding

There are currently more than 11,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending in the U.S. It goes without saying that plaintiffs in these cases will likely use the findings from the ProPublica report to support their claims that Xarelto’s manufacturers, Johnson and Johnson and AG Bayer, failed to warn physicians and patients about the risks associated with the drug. Marketed as a low-maintenance alternative to warfarin, Xarelto quickly rose in popularity. Due to high demand, Xarelto’s manufacturers may have rushed the product to market without adequate safety testing. Although all anticoagulants come with an increased risk of excessive bleeding (hemorrhaging), warfarin has an antidote to that bleeding, known as a reversal agent. To date, Xarelto has no such reversal agent. Excessive bleeding has resulted in thousands of injuries and some deaths. If you have been harmed by a defective prescription drug, contact a MA drug injury lawyer today.

Symptoms of Internal Bleeding

If you are currently undergoing Xarelto treatment, talk to your doctor about the risks of excessive bleeding. As internal bleeding may not be immediately apparent, it is important to look for possible signs. If the bleeding is rapid and severe, blood may collect under the skin, forming a bulge or discolored spot. Severe bleeding may result in shock or loss of consciousness. If you develop any of the symptoms below, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Dark urine
  • Dark stool
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Blood clots
  • Cough that produces blood
  • Blood in vomit
  • Unexplained pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Lawsuits allege that Xarelto manufacturers failed to warn physicians about the risk of uncontrollable bleeding, that the drug was defectively designed, and that warning labels were not updated in a timely manner. Johnson & Johnson and Bayer AG are also under fire for not recalling Xarelto when the risks became apparent. Continue reading

Lawsuits claiming that talc-based products have caused ovarian cancer in women who use them have been on the rise in recent years. According to research, women who use talcum powder for personal hygiene have a significantly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who do not. Despite this risk, however, talcum powder products are still on the market. Even more disturbing is new evidence that manufacturers of talc-based products, such as Johnson & Johnson, may have known about the risk for decades.

The United States vs. Europe

In Europe, talc is banned from personal care products. In the United States, however, manufacturers are permitted to add minimal amounts of ingredients to personal care products with limited safety testing. In some cases, no safety testing is required at all. The difference between the US approach and that of the EU is night and day. Laws in the EU state that “chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects simply don’t belong in cosmetics.” To more clearly illustrate the difference, consider this: The EU has banned more than 1,300 potentially toxic chemicals from personal care products while the US has only banned 11. If you have been harmed by a dangerous product, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

The Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

In 2013, the journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study on the risk of talcum powder use. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital study reviewed data from nearly 2,000 women. Their results showed an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer of up to 30 percent for women who used talc-based products for personal hygiene. According to research, when used for personal hygiene, talc minerals can travel through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries. If the particles become lodged in the ovaries, they can irritate the tissue, resulting in inflammation which can, in turn, become tumorous.

Large Awards in Wrongful Death and Product Liability Lawsuits

After using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for 35 years, Jacqueline Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Last year, the pharmaceutical giant was ordered to pay $72 million for the wrongful death of the victim. Although Fox passed away a few months before the trial began, she expressed her desire to warn other women of the dangers of talcum powder. Another victim, Gloria Ristesund, was awarded $55 million last year for her talcum powder liability claim. Ristesund claimed that she used baby powder and Shower to Shower for more than three decades before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact a MA injury lawyer today.

Despite all of the above, the FDA claims there is insufficient evidence to support the link between talc and ovarian cancer. As such, the agency refuses to label talc-based products as carcinogens even though they agreed that talc has a similar behavior pattern as asbestos. Continue reading

Hernia mesh is a surgical product used to repair hernias. The screen-like material goes under or over the weakness, or it can act as a plug. Unfortunately, surgical mesh has been linked to serious, life-threatening complications. The most common risks associated with hernia mesh implantation are perforation, infection, and adhesion. Many of these devices contain polypropylene, a type of plastic commonly used in medical products. However, according to the Polypropylene Material Data Safety Sheet, permanent implantation is listed under “prohibited uses.” As hernia mesh is intended to be a permanent product, this statement has raised many questions.

FDA Warning

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released on article on the dangers of hernia mesh implants.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants, alleging that claimants suffered painful, debilitating complications from the devices. DePuy’s ASR and Pinnacle models are the focus of most lawsuits, with DePuy’s costs estimated at around $4 billion and growing. The cases involving the two models were recently consolidated into separate multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases. Thousands more remain in pending status. If you experienced severe pain or medical complications after receiving a metal-on-metal hip implant, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Complications Associated with Metal Hip Implants

Hip replacement surgery is one of the greatest medical innovations in decades. Millions of people have been able to improve their quality of life as a result. Unfortunately, as with all medical procedures and devices, hip implants come with risks. But some of these risks may be the result of defective design and failure to warn physicians and patients of associated complications. Risks include:

  • Blood clots
  • Metallosis
  • Infection
  • Bone fracture
  • Death

Metallosis

One of the main concerns with metal-on-metal hip implants is the debris that may be released into the body when metal components rub against one another. When this occurs, a condition called metallosis can result. This dangerous condition is caused by a buildup of metal debris in the body’s soft tissue. The effects of metallosis can be quite dangerous, resulting in death of the surrounding tissue and potential blood poisoning. If cobalt, titanium, or chromium ions are released into the bloodstream, toxicity, inflammation, and even cancer can result. Metallosis can also cause:

  • Failure of the implant
  • Joint pain
  • Tissue death
  • Bone deterioration
  • Blood poisoning
  • Toxicity
  • Formation of pseudotumors or cysts
  • The need for revision surgery.

Nearly 35 percent of retrieved hip implants have notable corrosion and other types of damage. Bone fractures, joint dislocations, improperly positioned components, infection, defective stem designs, and poor cementing techniques may contribute to the loosening of stem components and the need for a revision surgery. Unfortunately, revision surgery is a difficult, painful, and longer process than the initial hip replacement. Thigh and / or knee pain are usually the first indicators of a complication with a hip replacement. If you are experiencing any complications after receiving a hip replacement, contact your health care provider immediately.

DePuy Settlements Top $4 Billion

Plaintiffs in both MDL cases and pending cases allege that the medical devices had design defects and that DePuy knew about the risks but failed to adequately warn physicians and patients. In 2013, DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson, agreed to a settlement in cases involving people injured by the manufacturer’s ASR models. At that time, the company set aside approximately $4 billion to settle the claims. Last year, the manufacturer agreed to an additional settlement of $420 million. If a defective or dangerous medical device has caused you harm, contact a MA defective medical device law firm today. Continue reading

On the surface, a power morcellator is an intriguing and seemingly fantastic showcase of modern medical technology. The drill-like device is able to perform laparoscopic surgeries, such as hysterectomies and myomectomies, without being overly invasive, requiring a less than two centimeter incision, and reduces the patient’s recovery time and post-operative pain drastically.

A morcellator works by cutting large chunks of tissue, such as a uterus, into smaller chunks and then using suction to vacuum the flesh out of the body via its long tubular attachment. A majority of the devices were manufactured and distributed under the Johnson & Johnson umbrella through their subsidiary company, Ethicon.

Power morcellators may cause cancer

The popular heartburn medication Nexium, released by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in 2001, has been used by millions around the globe to treat their chronic heartburn with relatively few side effects. Minor side effects include dry mouth, headaches and minor abdominal pain, which are certainly manageable.

However, more severe side effects have come to light in thousands of patients, side effects undisclosed by AstraZeneca and not mentioned on Nexium’s list of side effect, and hundreds of these patients have filed lawsuits seeking financial compensation for their pain and suffering as a result.

Serious side effects include…

Lipitor has the distinction of being the best-selling prescription medication of all time. Manufactured by pharmaceutical titan company, Pfizer, Lipitor is prescribed to help treat high cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. There is no doubt that Lipitor has helped millions of people since it was approved by the FDA in 1996.

However, recent studies have linked Lipitor to an increased risk of developing another serious disease: type 2 diabetes. In 2012, the FDA released a warning that cholesterol-reducing statin drugs, such as Lipitor, could elevate blood sugar levels in those who take it and lead to diabetes. Pfizer was ordered to add this warning on the Lipitor label.

This warning did not help people who had already developed diabetes while taking Lipitor, and it has led to lawsuits regarding inadequate warnings and a decreased quality of life as a result of this failure to warn consumers about all the potential risks.

About Lipitor

Lipitor is a prescription medication known as a “statin” drug, which means it works with the body to help stop the liver from producing too much “bad” cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and blood clots (which can lead to strokes).

Lipitor was first approved by the FDA in 1996, and by 2012 had made over $130 billion in sales. Doctors continue to prescribe Lipitor and other statin medications today because of their proven track record of helping reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.

However, there are other risks associated with statin medication, including muscle damage, memory loss and the aforementioned risk of developing diabetes. Doctors are less inclined to direct a patient to stop taking statin medication because of the former two symptoms (since heart disease and strokes are much more serious afflictions), but developing diabetes is obviously problematic also, so good awareness and consistent checkups and blood sugar testing should be standard when taking these medications.

If you developed diabetes while on Lipitor

You may have a good case for financial recompense if you developed type 2 diabetes while taking Lipitor prior to 2012. Whether or not it was known to Pfizer prior to the FDA demanding they place a warning on their bottles of Lipitor, it is still unacceptable that it took so long to find this link between Lipitor and another very serious disease.

Diabetes has life-altering effects on those who are diagnosed, including costly medical appointments, possible dialysis and surgeries, not to mention a complete change in lifestyle in order to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels. Further risks of diabetes include blindness, neuropathy and deadly kidney disease.

Hundreds of lawsuits regarding Lipitor and diabetes have been filed across the country, and the legal professionals at Altman & Altman LLP have the expertise to figure out the appropriate course of action if you or a loved one was diagnosed with diabetes as a result of taking Lipitor or other statin medications.

There are grounds for lawsuits based on negligence, failing to monitor the safety of a prescription medication, misleading consumers of the risks of a medication, inadequately labeling a prescription medication and ignoring potential risks of a prescription medication. Continue reading

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