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Drug Products Liability

pillsDrug Manufacturers create and market new drugs every year. And each year we learn that a newer drug being taken by the American public is causing serious injury or even death due to dangerous side-effects that might not have been publicized by the drug manufacturer.

If you or a family member has suffered an injury or has lost their life due to a drug they were taking, why not call an experienced Sacramento Drug Products Liability Lawyer. I've been helping Sacramento area residents with defective drug claims since 1982. If you have questions, call me at 916.921.6400 for free, friendly advice.

Below is some news regarding different types of potentially defective drugs.

In this article:

Accutane

This drug was prescribed to control acne. It has been linked with serious side effects found typically in young women which include severe birth defects in their newborns or the death of their fetus. It has also been linked to causing incurable medical conditions such as ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD).

Actos

This drug was prescribed to people with diabetes with the goal of controlling blood sugar levels. The drug has been linked to adverse side effects including bladder cancer, liver disease, and cardiovascular issues.

Allergan Breast Implants

Textured breast implants manufactured by Allergan have been linked to a breast-implant specific form of lymphatic cancer known as BIA-ALCL.  In most cases of BIA-ALCL, the cancer cells form in scar tissue and fluid near the implant site and remain localized, but there have been cases where cancer cells have spread.  The texturized implants are designed so that tissue grows into the implant, with the intention of keeping the implant in place.  However, it is believed that this design causes chronic inflammation which may be a factor in the development of BIA-ALCL.

Baycol

Designed as a cholesterol-lowering drug known as a statin was mostly prescribed for the treatment of high cholesterol. By blocking a liver enzyme that causes cholesterol, statins reduce the liver's cholesterol production. Cerivastatin is also referred to as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (which also blocks the particular liver enzyme that produces cholesterol). Bayer voluntarily withdrew Baycol from the market on August 8, 2001, after reports of deaths associated with Baycol and many liver and kidney problems in patients who were using Baycol.

Belviq

Belviq is the brand name for the weight loss medication lorcaserin.  Belviq has been on the market for eight years.  It works by affecting the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls appetite.  Belviq was recalled by the Food & Drug Administration in February 2020 because clinical trials indicated an increase in cancer risk from the use of the medication.  The cancer types most often associated with Belviq are colorectal, pancreatic, and lung.  The FDA issued its recall due to the findings from the clinical safety trial, which supported the conclusion that the risks of using Belviq outweighed the benefits.

Benicar

This drug was prescribed to people (both adults and children) who have high blood pressure. This drug has been linked to debilitating side effects, most often in women, that include excessive weight loss, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal side effects. Benicar can also cause a gastrointestinal condition which causes symptoms similar to those of celiac disease but is sprue-like enteropathy.

Elmiron

Elmiron, a medication manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is the only drug with FDA approval for treatment of the bladder condition interstitial cystitis.  The drug has been on the market since it was approved in 1996.  Recent studies and patient case reports have revealed a link between the use of the medication and a retinal eye disease known as pigmentary maculopathy.

Ephedra

The recent deaths of three football players who may have been taking nutritional supplements containing ephedra compounds have everyone from professional athletes to teenage dieters to weekend gym rats wondering what they've been putting into their bodies--and at what risk.

Fosamax

Fosamax is often prescribed to women for the treatment or prevention of osteoporosis associated with menopause. It has also been prescribed to men and women with a diagnosis of osteoporosis or to treat Paget's disease. Unfortunately, the drug has been associated with causing femur fractures.  Additionally, while less common, some have also contracted a rare condition also known as jaw death. This means that the jawbone tissue breaks down to the point of bone exposure which subsequently leads to infections of the gum, gum lesions and loosened teeth.

Granuflo

Granuflo was used by people who used kidney dialysis regularly. Granuflo is a drug known as dialysate. This drug was put in the dialysis machine by medical professionals with the goal of 'normalizing' the buildup of acid in the blood. Many people exposed to Granuflo were not necessarily aware they were on it as it was not something they picked up at the pharmacy. The drug was recalled in May 2012. Unfortunately, for many of its users, the drug has been associated with causing fatal heart attacks, cardiac arrest, stroke, low blood pressure, and high blood carbon dioxide.

Imodium

Imodium (generic loperamide) is an anti-diarrheal medication that is available by prescription and over-the-counter.  It is subject to overconsumption by those suffering from opiate addiction and others who seek euphoria or other opiate-like effects.  Overuse of Imodium can cause serious cardiac events, some of which are life-threatening.

Lipitor

Lipitor has been prescribed to people who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels. It later came to light that an abnormal amount of Lipitor users were developing Type II diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or debilitating muscle disease.

Metformin

The online pharmacy, Valisure, reported that there are high levels of NDMA, a probable carcinogen, in the United State's supply of the widely prescribed diabetes drug known as metformin. Valisure is pushing for recalls in the US by pressuring regulators with their recent findings. Valisure's Testing discovered NDMA in 16 different batches of the drug made by 11 drug companies. Exposure to NDMA at levels beyond what is safe has been linked to various types of cancers.

Nexium

Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor that decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach. It is prescribed to people who have been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or to prevent gastric ulcers. Nexium has been linked to major medical complications in people who have taken the medication for a long time, those who used a high dose of the medication or those who are age 50+. These complications include but are not limited to bone fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine.

Paragard IUD

The Paragard IUD is a non-hormonal copper T-shaped device that is implanted into a woman's uterus to provide long-term, ostensibly reversible birth control.  The Paragard IUD has been on the market since 1984 when it was approved by the FDA.  The device is prone to breakage during the removal procedure, which can cause complications such as uterine wall perforation.  An invasive procedure called a hysteroscopy may be necessary to remove the retained broken part of the IUD.  If the broken piece cannot be found or becomes embedded in the uterine wall, more complicated surgery may be required.  Some cases of Paragard IUD-caused injuries have resulted in patients needing hysterectomies, which leave the patients permanently infertile.

Phenylpropanolamine

Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is an ingredient used in prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drug products as a nasal decongestant to relieve stuffy nose or sinus congestion and in OTC weight control drug products to control appetite. A scientific study found an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in women who used phenylpropanolamine, although it is not clear which isomer is to blame. A study at the Yale University School of Medicine in 1999 had produced similar results. Reports of cases of hemorrhagic strokes in PPA users had been circulating since the 1970s. In November 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory against the use of the drug. In this advisory, the FDA requested that all drug companies discontinue marketing products containing phenylpropanolamine. The agency estimates that PPA caused between 200 and 500 strokes a year among 18-to-49-year-old users. In 2005 the FDA removed phenylpropanolamine from an over-the-counter sale.

Pradaxa

Pradaxa is a medication that is prescribed to lower the occurrence of blood clot formations, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism. Pradaxa has been linked to uncontrollable bleeding events that have sometimes been fatal. These uncontrollable bleeding events have occurred in some users at or near the brain, the GI system, and the rectal system. Uncontrollable internal bleeding has also occurred in Pradaxa users after sustaining a fall.

Propulsid

Propulsid was prescribed for many adults suffering from the symptoms of nighttime heartburn and for many infants suffering from colic.  However, after the FDA received numerous reports linking the drug to dangerous side effects - including at least 80 deaths - the manufacturer announced in March of this year that Propulsid no longer would be marketed in the United States.

Rezulin

Rezulin use has been known to be the cause of jaundice, hepatitis, liver failure, liver transplants, and the cause of at least 65 deaths since it was introduced.

Risperdal

Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication and is prescribed to patients who suffer from mental or mood disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It may have been prescribed to treat depression. This drug has had an adverse reaction in males. Male adolescents using this medication have reported the development of male breasts (gynecomastia). This is also accompanied by pain or nipple discharge.

Singulair

Singulair, and its generic formulas of montelukast, block leukotrienes within the body.  That action helps improve symptoms associated with asthma such as difficulty breathing.  The drug is also used to treat nasal hay fever symptoms including sneezing and a runny nose.  In March 2020, the FDA issued a boxed warning requirement for Singulair and its generics.  This is the strongest warning issued by the FDA.  The boxed warning was in addition to the warning already included with Singulair's information sheet related to the risk of neuropsychiatric events up to and including suicidal ideation and completion. The FDA warns that, especially when used to treat milder symptoms, the risks of using Singulair may outweigh the benefits.

Taxotere 

Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug that is commonly used to treat breast cancer, particularly metastatic breast cancer. It works by inhibiting the replication of DNA, stopping the division of tumor cells. While many patients tolerate this medication well, there are still some severe immediate and long-term side effects which stem from damage to the healthy DNA cells. Some immediate side effects of Taxotere include fatigue, febrile neutropenia, and fluid retention. One of the most dangerous of these side effects is the febrile neutropenia, which is a form of immunodeficiency. Because Taxotere damages the immune system, even a minor common cold could be life-threatening. One research study found that the risk of febrile neutropenia was between 20 and 25 percent in patients receiving this chemotherapy medication. A few long-term side effects of Taxotere include skin changes, nail changes, and even nerve damage. Unfortunately, the nerve damage from Taxotere is often permanent. Nerve damage could lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, or even chronic pain.

Testosterone Therapy

Testosterone is a natural hormone. Testosterone can be prescribed in various forms to treat low testosterone levels in men. Testosterone use has been linked to adverse conditions including an increased risk of cardiac problems. These complications have been seen most often in men with a history of heart disease prior.

Truvada

Emtricitabine/Tenofovir, which is marketed under the brand name Truvada and sold by Gilead pharmaceuticals, is a popular drug used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. When used in combination with other medications, it has proven effective at decreasing the number of viral copies in the bloodstream, prolonging the lives of those afflicted with HIV. In addition, Truvada has also become popular in the prevention of HIV, having been used in PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Truvada works by binding to an enzyme used in the replication of HIV’s RNA, stopping the virus from reproducing. While this mechanism has proven beneficial, there are also a number of side effects that come from taking this medication. Some of the most common side effects include fatigue, headaches, difficulty sleeping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. While these side effects are relatively well tolerated, there are also serious side effects that could even prove life-threatening. A few of these side effects include lactic acidosis (high levels of lactate in the bloodstream), liver failure, kidney failure, and bone loss which could lead to an increased rate of bone fractures. These side effects could result in additional hospital visits, surgeries, and even organ transplants.

Valsartan

Valsartan is part of a class of medications known as angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs.  Valsartan is a popular oral prescription drug used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure.  Over 1,000 lots of Valsartan-based drugs were found to have been contaminated with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a recognized carcinogen.  While the FDA has not issued a recall for Valsartan, many drug companies have voluntarily pulled their supplies.  High levels of NDMA are associated with an increased risk of various types of cancer.

Yaz

Most often, Yaz is prescribed to women as contraception to prevent pregnancy. On occasion, it has been prescribed to treat acne in women or for the treatment of symptoms related to the premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Yaz has been linked to adverse reactions including, blood clots, stroke, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or deep vein thrombosis.

Zantac

In September of 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated in a report the discovery of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a carcinogenic contaminant, in Zantac also known as ranitidine. Zantac is a frequently prescribed heartburn medication available in both prescription and over-the-counter versions. In April of 2020, an announcement was made by the FDA that all Zantac brand heartburn drugs, over-the-counter and by prescription, should be taken off the market at once due to potential NDMA contamination.

Zithromax

Zithromax is an antibiotic that is prescribed to treat some infections. Zithromax has been linked to an increased risk of fatal heart problems.

Sacramento Drug Products Liability Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a drug products liability lawyer in Sacramento. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a defective drug, and looking for help from one of the most experienced drug defect attorneys in Sacramento, call me at 916.921.6400, 800.404.5400, or contact me online for free friendly advice.

I'm a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Top One Percent, a National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.4.20]

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