Injuries and deaths caused by prescription drugs are becoming more common in Florida and across the United States. Some drugs that are prescribed by physicians and produced by pharmaceutical companies are not adequately tested for dangerous or life-threatening side effects and complications. These practices result in many patients taking or being prescribed medication that may cause serious or fatal injuries. If a prescription drug harmed you or a family member, you should consult with an experienced Miami pharmaceutical injury lawyer today.
At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA, we are dedicated to providing you with aggressive legal representation and compassionate support. Attorney Prosper Shaked can help you pursue a claim against pharmaceutical companies that have injured you because of an unsafe drug they manufactured. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676, or contact us online.
Pharmaceutical Industry Statistics
The pharmaceutical industry is constantly developing new drugs to treat all kinds of illnesses and conditions. Some of these drugs are improperly or inadequately tested or labeled, which may lead to devastating side effects for patients who are prescribed a certain type of medication.
According to research by Mayo Clinic, approximately 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug per day, while 50% take two or more prescription drugs per day, and 20% take five or more prescription drugs per day. The most popular types of drugs that are prescribed include antibiotics, antidepressants, and opioid painkillers.
There are about 4 billion prescription medications that are filled within a single year in the United States. That equals roughly 13 prescriptions for every individual in the country. With the variety of drugs available and the prevalence of prescription medications now on the market, it is tragically common for patients to suffer serious or fatal complications that could have been avoided. Drug manufacturers should be held responsible when negligence leads to the injury or death of a patient.
How the FDA Approves Prescription Drugs
The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is responsible for evaluating new drugs before they can be sold. The CDER examines brand-name and generic medications to ensure they function as intended. To get their drug approved, a pharmaceutical company must test their drug and submit their findings to a CDER team that consists of physicians, chemists, statisticians, pharmacologists, and other health experts.
If the CDER team determines that a certain drug can successfully be used to treat a condition, they will approve it for public use. However, the FDA notes that a drug can be approved for public use if the benefits of the drug outweigh its “known and potential risks.” This means that drugs with adverse side effects can still be approved if the FDA believes it can treat a certain condition. In cases where the side effects are severe, the pharmaceutical company may be required to have a “risk management and mitigation strategy” to handle risks associated with the drug.
Additionally, if the FDA is unaware of a risk with a particular drug, it can still be approved for public use. This results in a variety of prescribed drugs that can cause serious or life-threatening injuries to patients.
The Most Dangerous Types of Prescription Medications
While there are numerous types of prescription medications that can be used for a variety of conditions, some medications pose a higher risk than others. These dangerous medications are widely used throughout the U.S. and have caused countless injuries to patients they are prescribed to. The following is a list of some of the most dangerous drugs that you or someone you love could be taking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that blood thinners are one of the most dangerous drugs and account for more emergency room visits than any other therapeutic drug. Blood thinners operate by reducing the number of blood clots that may form in your veins and arteries. Blood thinners do not dissolve clots that already exist in your bloodstream, but they can prevent those clots from becoming larger and causing other serious issues. Blood thinners are primarily used to treat conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms (PE).
DVT occurs when a blood clot forms inside the veins of a person’s legs. This may cause the person to experience severe pain, inflammation, a lack of mobility, and the sensation of tightness around their leg. A clot that forms in a leg vein can also break off and travel to the heart or lungs. A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that forms inside of a person’s lungs or a clot that traveled from another area of the body. This may cause a person to have chest pain and issues breathing.
Xarelto, also known as rivaroxaban, is a prescription blood-thinning medication that is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Janssen Pharmaceuticals designed Xarelto as an alternative to the blood-thinning medication Warfarin. Xarelto is intended to provide all the benefits of a medication like Warfarin, while eliminating the need for patients to obtain as many blood tests to monitor the effects of Warfarin. However, Xarelto has also been linked to severe internal bleeding.
One of the most serious problems with Xarelto bleeding is that complications are difficult to treat successfully. While emergency dialysis can help some patients, the outcome of this treatment is not guaranteed. It was not until May 2018 that the FDA approved Andexxa, which may be used “when reversal of anticoagulation is needed due to life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding” related to rivaroxaban.
Antidepressants are a common treatment for depression, social anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, and many other mental conditions. Antidepressants work by altering chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain that may be responsible for changes in a person’s mood or behavior.
There are two types of antidepressants that are commonly prescribed: serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SNRIs are utilized for conditions like major depression, mood disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and many other illnesses. SSRIs mainly treat depression by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, leading to higher levels of serotonin.
Common side effects of antidepressants include:
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Low sodium
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Anxiety or increased aggression
- Unusual thoughts
One major side effect of antidepressants that a person may experience is suicidal thinking, especially if the person who was prescribed the medication is under the age of 18. The prescription medication Paxil (paroxetine) is one SSRI antidepressant that can cause thoughts of suicide.
Celexa (citalopram) is another type of antidepressant that may cause a person serious injuries. Celexa has been linked to serious or fatal heart problems because it may cause issues with the electrical activity and rhythm of the heart. Celexa has also been linked to congenital disabilities, including:
- Cleft lip
- Congenital heart defects
Other depression medications that can cause serious injuries or death include:
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Luvox (fluvoxamine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
Diuretics are used to help your body rid itself of excess salt and water. This type of medication works by causing your kidneys to release more sodium into your urine which will then be excreted.
There are three types of diuretics: thiazides, loop, and potassium-sparing. Each type of diuretic will target a different function that your kidney provides. Diuretics can cause a variety of side effects, including:
- Severe allergic reactions
- Kidney failure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low potassium levels
There are several other medications and drug types not listed above that can cause serious personal injury or death. If you are experiencing side effects from any of the medications listed above, or another type of medication that is causing severe side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Filing a Defective Drug Lawsuit
Depending on the type of drug you were injured by, there may be several ongoing lawsuits against the manufacturer of that product. For example, there are currently over 22,000 lawsuits in federal court alleging injuries caused by the blood thinner Xarelto. Celexa and Lexapro are other prescription medications that have faced widespread litigation in the past few years.
Additionally, if you were prescribed the wrong medication by your physician, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against them. Under certain circumstances, you could be prescribed medication that should not interact with other forms of medication you are taking. You may also be prescribed drugs that react dangerously with a medical condition that you already have. If a doctor does not provide you with the proper medication to treat your ailment, they may potentially be held liable for your injuries, depending on the circumstances.
Miami Prescription Drug Injury Lawsuit Lawyer Serving Florida
If you or a family member suffered an injury because of a prescription drug, you should contact an experienced Florida prescription drug injury attorney. Prosper Shaked has extensive litigation experience that is instrumental when fighting against large pharmaceutical companies or negligent medical professionals. To schedule a free legal consultation, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676, or contact us online today.