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Can the Treatment Be Worse Than the Disease?

Updated December 28, 2018 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars aggressively marketing their products. While the overwhelming majority of prescription drugs are helpful, occasionally a medication hits the market whose risks outweigh the advertised benefits.

Despite rigorous trials and studies, some medications present worrisome side effects that are either more dangerous or more common than initial trials led the manufacturer—and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—to believe. This lack of transparency can mean real harm for patients who believed they were taking medicine that would help them. Some drug side effects can cause permanent damage or even death.

Medication Benefits and Risks

All medical treatments have benefits and risks. Prescription drugs can relieve pain, regulate body functions, and even save lives. Side effects and risks vary widely, not only from one drug to another but from person to person.

In most cases, your doctor will determine that the benefits of a particular medication outweigh the bothersome or potentially harmful side effects that you may experience. However, everyone is different, and there’s no way to predict how a person will react to a new medication.

For this reason, if a prescribed medicine causes harm, it can be difficult to determine if the fault lies with the drug manufacturer or with the prescribing physician. If you or someone you love suffers long-term harm from taking a prescription medication as prescribed, you may find it helpful to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can review your case and help you determine whether you should file a claim for medical malpractice or a product liability claim for a dangerous drug.

Devastating Drug Side Effects

Most drug side effects are bothersome at worst. Headaches, sleepiness, and nausea are no fun, but neither do they cause any lasting harm. Occasionally, however, a medication can cause serious side effects. Each year, over four million Americans visit their doctor or go to the emergency room because of adverse side effects of medication. These side effects can include:

  • Seizures
  • Blood clots
  • Birth defects
  • Organ damage
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Increased risk for heart attack
  • Increased risk for certain cancers

Additionally, there are milder side effects that can cause grievous harm if the patient doesn’t receive warning. For example, dizziness can lead to injury from a fall. If the drug label doesn’t warn of the possibility of dizziness, a court may find the drug manufacturer liable for harm caused by a patient’s fall.

Over-the-Counter Drugs Can Cause Harm

Harmful drug side effects and interactions are not limited to those prescribed by physicians. Some over-the-counter medications may cause harm to patients as well. If someone suffers harm from an over-the-counter medication that didn’t carry a warning on the label, that may demonstrate negligence on the manufacturer’s part.

Recalled Drugs

In some cases, harmful drug side effects cause a manufacturer to recall a particular drug. This action can raise the question of whether the drug company was negligent in releasing the medication in the first place.

Legal Action for Victims of Harmful Drugs

If the drug company was negligent, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. The law may hold the pharmaceutical company liable for damages if it:

  • Failed to warn physicians and patients of harmful side effects
  • Failed to adequately study long-term effects before releasing a drug for manufacture

Patients injured by recalled medications may also have a strong claim for damages.

Contact a Drug Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have suffered from injury or harm by a prescription medication or other drug, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Drug Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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