Annually, thousands of drugs and medical devices face removal from the US market as safety concerns surface. Depending on the nature of these issues, the removal of certain medications may prove temporary, with some eventually returning to the market.
But for other drugs, the process may extend over a lengthy period before the drug can be reintroduced, while a small percentage are permanently withdrawn. The reasons for removal vary because some manufacturers voluntarily withdraw their products, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiates recalls for others.
If you’ve used a recalled medication, you may wonder if you’re at risk for health problems or if previous conditions were related to the medication. But what if you’ve taken a medication that hasn’t been recalled – could it still cause you serious health concerns?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Many people suffer unexpected, serious side effects from dangerous drugs before the manufacturer and/or the FDA become aware of the problem.
How Can a Dangerous Drugs Attorney Help?
A dangerous drugs attorney can help you learn if your health concerns are related to a dangerous medication and what your options are for pursuing compensation. We know it can be difficult for an injured person to figure out if a medication is the cause of their symptoms, and we want to help you with this challenging process.
Defective drugs or medical devices can cause difficulties in a number of ways.
Some people develop serious symptoms quickly after beginning a new medication. On the other hand, some patients may use medication for years without any side effects, only to one day develop sudden organ failure or another serious health problem.
Others are diagnosed with a specific condition and assume that’s the whole story – they simply developed an illness – without considering whether their medication could have brought on the condition.
What Are Some Signs You’ve Been Affected By a Dangerous Drug?
If you notice any of these, we recommend speaking with a dangerous drugs attorney to learn more.
You Develop a New, Serious Health Problem While Using a Medication
If you’ve seen any pharmaceutical ads lately, you probably know that all drugs have side effects – often, a very long list of side effects. In some cases, the drug information may also warn about rare but serious side effects, such as organ failure or cancer.
Typically, drugs with known, serious side effects like these are only prescribed for equally serious health problems, and the patient is warned about these potential effects.
A doctor or pharmacist will likely explain what warning signs to look out for so the patient can get early treatment if a serious condition develops. The patient may also be given instructions on steps they can take to reduce the risk.
If you develop a severe health problem under these circumstances, the pharmaceutical company probably wasn’t negligent – you were warned of the risks and were given tools to mitigate them. But the situation is very different if you weren’t warned about the potential for a serious side effect and experienced one anyway.
Here are some severe health problems that are sometimes associated with defective drugs:
- Heart conditions
- Liver, kidney, or other organ failure
- Neurological issues
- Birth defects or infertility
- Autoimmune disorders
- Serious, life-threatening infections
- Stroke or blood clot
- Severe, uncontrolled bleeding or internal hemorrhaging
If you develop one of these issues or another serious health concern while taking a medication, that doesn’t necessarily mean the medication caused it. However, it’s worth asking your doctor or pharmacist if there could be a connection.
Doctors Can’t Explain Your Health Problems
This often coincides with the previous point of concern. Not only did you develop a new and serious health problem, but your doctors can’t explain why.
You have no family history of this problem, you don’t have any risk factors, and you don’t fit the characteristics of people who most commonly develop this condition. For instance, it’s unusual for a young and healthy person to suffer a heart attack.
If you have one in your twenties, your doctors will probably order a battery of tests to identify the cause, looking for genetic issues or other explanations.
But what if they don’t find any? If your doctors are just as confused as you are, please consider talking with a dangerous drugs lawyer to explore whether your medication might be related to your new condition.
Another way this can play out is with unexplained symptoms. In some cases, a patient begins suffering pain or other severe symptoms and sees a doctor.
The doctor runs a few tests, finds nothing of note, and suggests over-the-counter remedies. When the patient returns with unresolved or worsened symptoms, the doctor runs a few more tests.
If these are also negative, the doctor may refer the patient to a specialist or, in other cases, suggest the patient is simply “anxious.” Some people in this predicament see multiple doctors who can’t explain their symptoms, which can be both frustrating and expensive.
If this sounds familiar, and you are taking any medication, it’s a good idea to check the known side effects list or ask a pharmacist if these symptoms could be related. Doctors are busy people and rarely have time to do more than skim the drug facts on medications they prescribe – it’s possible they missed a less common side effect that you’ve experienced.
If your health problems don’t match up with the manufacturer’s list of side effects, it’s still possible you’re having a previously unknown problem – especially if your medication is relatively new.
You can do an internet search for the drug’s name plus your symptoms, but please remember to consider the source of anything you find online. Anyone can write a negative review about a medication, including competitors or people who dislike the drug’s manufacturer for any reason.
But if you notice multiple people complaining about very specific symptoms you also have, it’s possible this indicates a pattern of severe side effects.
However, you can’t prove that with a few online comments. We recommend consulting a dangerous drugs lawyer, who can look into official complaints filed with the FDA and other government agencies to determine if there is any merit to your concerns about the medication.
Your Medication Has Been Recalled, or You Heard It Was the Subject of a Lawsuit
Sometimes, people don’t connect their symptoms or even a new diagnosis with their medication until they hear on the news that a recall has been issued or the makers are facing a lawsuit. If this happens, it’s a good idea to read any news coverage from a credible source, as well as any statements from the manufacturer.
Drug recalls can happen for a variety of reasons. If only specific batches of the medication were recalled, chances are the issue was a temporary manufacturing problem rather than a design defect.
The difference is that a design defect is an inherent problem with the drug and how it works, while a manufacturing problem usually reflects something going wrong in the manufacturing process.
With a manufacturing problem, the manufacturer typically identifies the affected batches and issues instructions on what consumers should do. If you did not receive any medication from those batches, it’s unlikely you will experience the known problems.
However, if your symptoms match up with what other patients have reported after taking the affected batches, you should speak with your doctor right away. You may also consider contacting the manufacturer because it’s possible the problem was more widespread than they thought.
If the recall does not specify batches, it’s likely the manufacturer or the FDA suspects a design defect. Again, you should read any information on the recall and the particular problems associated with the drug.
Even when a medication is defective, not everyone will necessarily experience problems from it. In some cases, the effects are more likely to cause issues after long-term use; a person taking the drug short-term may have a lower risk.
In these situations, it’s best to call your doctor to discuss alternatives. Never stop taking a medication without speaking to your healthcare provider first because this can cause serious problems in some situations.
If the medication has not been recalled but is the subject of a lawsuit, we recommend talking to a dangerous drugs lawyer to learn more.
Your Symptoms Correlate with Medication Usage
One example would be if you start taking a medication and shortly after you develop severe symptoms or a serious health problem. After you stop taking the medication for unrelated reasons, your symptoms improve, or your condition gets better.
Keep in mind that a correlation like this doesn’t prove causation – your symptoms or condition could get better or worse for a number of reasons. However, it is worth discussing with your doctor if you have concerns.
It’s also possible that a dangerous drug could cause permanent damage to your organs or tissues. If this is the case, your symptoms may not change simply because you stop taking the medication.
For this reason, you shouldn’t rule out a dangerous drug side effect if you don’t get better after stopping the medication.
Another situation might be if you are prescribed a medication to take “as needed” instead of on a daily basis. For instance, your doctor might prescribe a medication to take whenever you feel a migraine coming on.
If you find you develop other severe symptoms every time you take this medication, it’s possible you’re experiencing a side effect not listed in the manufacturer’s drug facts.
What Should You Do if You Suspect You’ve Been Affected by a Dangerous Drug?
Please contact The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We’ll review your case and investigate further if necessary.
If we find evidence that you were affected by a dangerous drug side effect that was either unreasonably dangerous or that the manufacturer failed to warn you about, we may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries.
What Is a Multi-District Litigation or MDL?
In order to streamline and efficiently handle numerous dangerous drug cases, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation may decide to transfer all the cases to a single district court for pre-trial proceedings.
This approach was established to alleviate the burden on federal courts when faced with multiple plaintiffs from various jurisdictions. It’s frequently used in dangerous drug cases where hundreds or even thousands of patients across the country might be affected by the same medication.
The MDL process effectively simplifies matters during the early stages of the lawsuit, although it’s important to note that individual cases retain their separate identities throughout the proceedings.
After the pretrial and discovery phases are over, the plan is for each individual case to transfer back to the local court where it originated.
However, in many situations, the injured party and the drug manufacturer reach a settlement agreement rather than continue the trial in the local court. In fact, the majority of dangerous drug cases are resolved through an out-of-court settlement, whether they are part of an MDL or not.
Sometimes, people contact us to ask about joining an MDL that has already been created for others injured by the same drug. If we find that your case qualifies, we can request that it be added to the MDL.
However, in some circumstances, we may advise you to continue your trial outside of the MDL if we believe this is a better course of action.
Let Our Dangerous Drugs Law Firm Help You Today
The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers was founded by Robert S. Fakhouri, a graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He worked as a legal clerk and litigation associate before founding The Fakhouir Firm with the goal of protecting the legal rights of injured people.
Through his tireless efforts to advocate for his clients, he has secured millions of dollars in compensation for injured individuals and their families. When he’s not fighting for clients in court or negotiating with insurance companies, you can find Mr. Fakhouri discussing legal issues on his busy social media profiles.
Don’t put up with the effects of dangerous drugs alone. Contact The Fakhouri Firm today at (312) 999-9990.