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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