Risk Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease occurs when a person’s digestive tract, or at least a part of it, is suffering from inflammation. There are two common types of IBD, namely Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Their difference lies on where the inflammation is taking place. For Crohn’s disease, the inflammation is in the lining of the digestive tract, either in the large intestine, small intestine, or both. For ulcerative colitis, the inflammation is in the inner most lining of the large intestine and rectum, and is often characterized with sores or ulcers.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis generally have the same symptoms, but they may vary from person to person depending on the location and severity of the inflammation. The website of GastroCare LI has enumerated some of the most common symptoms for the two classic inflammatory bowel diseases:

  • Abdominal cramps or pain
  • Bloody stool
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss

IBD can be sustained because of a variety of factors, including environmental and genetic aspects that may result into negative immune system responses and inflammation. Below are some of the believed risk factors for inflammatory bowel diseases.

Age

Everybody can be at risk of IBD at any age, but those who are 35 and above are believed to be more likely to sustain the disease.

Diet

Excessive consumption of high protein from meat and fish has also been linked to IBD development, and it is believed to be because of the higher amounts of Sulphur containing amino acids on meat and fish protein compared to plant protein.

Family History

Those who have family members who have acquired the disease are more likely to acquire it as well. But this does not necessarily mean that those who do not have such family members are entirely risk-free.

Geographical Location

Since meat and processed food have been proven to be linked to IBD development, countries who rely on these meals more are more likely to develop IBD compared to others. These countries are typically industrialized.

Smoking

Smokers are also at risk of IBD, particularly Crohn’s disease. Smoking is also known to aggravate the symptoms of IBD.

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Mime Drug Still in Hot Water

Lawsuits filed against incretin mimetic drugs such as Januvia have been gaining momentum ever since the first studies came out linking the treatment for type 2 diabetes was linked to high risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Reviews are ongoing but it doesn’t look good for the Merck & Co. product, which posted a 2% decrease in its 2013 sales for Januvia, bagging less than the $4.09 billion it made in 2012.

Diabetes medication is always good business, with 20 million in the US alone diagnosed with either Type I or Type II diabetes, with an estimated 9 million still undiagnosed. It is no wonder that despite its legal troubles, Merck still continues to do brisk business with Januvia as litigation moves forward.

Multidistrict litigaton against the company (In Re: Incretins Products Liability, Sales and Marketing Litigation, MDL 2452) has experienced some setbacks in the Southern District of California when the court ruled against its Motion to Compel discovery regarding the prior knowledge of the companies about the link between the medication and cancer of the pancreas.

But the defendants are facing a long road ahead as more cases are being filed nationwide. The findings of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would have a significant impact on the legal proceedings, but no conclusion about the link between incretin mimetic drugs and pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis has yet been published. The FDA’s European counterparts are in the same situation.

The continued uncertainty over the safety of using Januvia and other incretin mimetics are certain to have a slow but progressive effect on sales even if there is no conclusive evidence over these alleged side effects. However, until litigation is finally put to rest, it is likely that drug makers will still continue to realize significant profits from the drugs.

If you suspect you have been seriously harmed from using Januvia or other incretin mimetic drugs, you can make your voice heard. People harmed by dangerous products may be able to receive compensation for their trouble.

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From the Frying Pan to the Fire: Dangerous Medications Make Bad to Worse

The purpose of taking medication is to make a person better and healthier, and in general, most of them do what they are supposed to. It is widely accepted that there are risks associated with chemical-based health interventions, but these are mostly kept within reasonable limits in the US by rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect the public from potentially harmful preparations. Sometimes, though, the watchdogs fail. When this happens, it can make the bad worse.

A good example is Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride), manufactured by Pfizer and a major player in the market as one of the newer SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants. It is known as an effective and relatively safe treatment for major depression as well as schizophrenia in both adults and children with fewer of the common antidepressant side effects. However, it was also marketed (without FDA approval) as equally safe for pregnant women who were feeling low from the effects of the hormonal carnival that was going on in their bodies. It wasn’t so safe for their unborn babies, though, a significant number of which were born with defects.

Another example is GranuFlo, a dry acid used in dialysis machines to increase the production of bicarbonates that neutralizes the acids that accumulate in the blood of a patient with compromised or non-functional renal function. While the administering the correct dosage for any medication is important, it was especially so with Granuflo, because excess dosages could lead to stroke or cardiac failure. Manufacturer Fresenius Medical Care knew exactly the dangers of using Granuflo in excessive amounts, but neglected to warn physicians, patients, and non-FMC dialysis centers. This may have caused personal injury to yourself or others you may love.

In the case of NuvaRing, it was convenience rather than need that was the motivation. It was an implanted contraceptive that only needed to be attended to every 3 weeks. However, it soon turned out that it caused more problems than it solved. It increased the risk of abnormal blood clotting which thousands of women suffered after using NuvaRing, developing conditions such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Again, manufacturer Merck knew about the potentially fatal side effects but failed to warn the public.

All three examples of dangerous medications have been the object of numerous lawsuits, and all three have settled with plaintiffs at least in part.  If you have been unnecessarily injured from these products or from other dangerous medications, consult with a personal injury lawyer to find out your legal options.

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