Medication side effects are a common phenomenon, as people react differently to different drug formulas. If you read the literature carefully, you may find a long list of potential side effects that will sound scary. While not everyone encounters these adverse symptoms, the risk is considerable and always there.
While the FDA approves drugs only after stringent testing and lab work, things may still slip through the cracks. In such cases, defective drugs reach the market and cause severe harm to patients. According to statistics, more than 14,000 drug recalls happened in the last decade. The number shows how serious the threat is.
From insignificant side effects to the damage caused by defective drugs, there are several ways a medicine can do more harm than good. As a consumer, you should know how to deal with the unexpected. This article offers insight into handling such situations and minimizing the impact.
Why Do Medicines Cause Adverse Reactions?
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clears a drug, it ensures that the benefits are greater than the known risks. Still, both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs may have unwanted and undesirable reactions. These may range from minor problems such as a runny nose or skin allergies to life-threatening events like a heart attack or liver damage.
Consider the example of Tepezza, a prescription medication recommended for thyroid eye disease (TED). TruLaw notes that Horizon Therapeutics was granted approval for the drug on January 21, 2020. As the first-of-its-kind medicine for the condition, the drug brought a ray of hope for patients dealing with TED.
However, the drug eventually lost credibility as several patients reported hearing loss after treatment. In March 2021, a study by the Endocrine Society found that the risk of Tepezza-induced hearing loss was as high as 65%. A patient suffering from these symptoms can file a Tepezza lawsuit, claiming compensation from Horizon Therapeutics for failing to mention the risk on warning labels.
Besides the reactions caused by drug ingredients, the other possible reasons for side effects include:
- Taking a new medication or dietary supplement for the first time
- Stopping a medication you have been on for a while
- Changing the drug dosage
- Adverse reaction with another drug you are already taking
- Individual factors such as age, physiology, health conditions, or allergies
Dealing With Medication Side Effects & Adverse Reactions
When a drug does more harm than good, you should take proactive measures to address them sooner rather than later. Here, it is critical to understand the difference between side effects and adverse reactions.
According to research, adverse drug reactions can cause serious threats with severe toxicity. They can lead to large numbers of injured persons and large financial settlements.
In such cases, prompt action may be life-saving. Here are a few steps you should take to mitigate the damage:
Know What to Expect
Your defense against drug reactions should start even before taking medication for the first time. Inquire about the potential side effects of your doctor before starting a prescription medication. Reading labels is often enough in the case of OTC drugs, or you may seek guidance from the pharmacist if you have doubts. If a medication does not align with your current health status or drug regimen, look for a safer alternative.
Discontinue the Medication Immediately
Immediate cessation is the first thing to do if you experience side effects or adverse reactions to a medication. Be vigilant about the early warning signs such as nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, skin allergies, and sleep disturbances. Discontinuation can prevent further damage, so you should not overlook the red flags.
Get Medical Attention
The next step is to get immediate medical attention, specifically if adverse effects persist after discontinuing the medication. Prompt evaluation by an expert is essential in such cases. They can recommend a treatment to counter the effects of the drug. Also, they can suggest a substitute for an essential drug.
Report the Issue
As a patient suffering from harm due to a defective drug, reporting the issue is your right and duty. You can even claim compensation for adverse reactions caused by such drugs. Manufacturers are liable to pay for harmful products or failure to give adequate warning about the potential damage. Flagging defective medications is a responsibility because the action can prompt government action and save lives in the future.
Some individuals are more vulnerable to medication side effects and adverse reactions due to their age and physiology. Continuous monitoring can be a savior if you are one of them. Any drug can cause reactions, even when you alter dosages. Keep an eye on side effects and get medical attention when you notice them.
Nothing sounds worse than a medication doing more harm than good. You trust a drug to treat your health issues, and it ends up causing an adverse reaction. But the risk comes as a part of the package when you look for relief from a health issue.
Caution is the best way to handle potential harm, from tracking adverse effects to reporting them immediately. You should not hesitate to take action against manufacturers and providers if the damage is severe.