Medical malpractice caused by a doctor or nurse’s mistake accounts for many avoidable patient injuries. However, some patients are not injured so much by the individuals who administer treatments as they are injured by the treatments themselves. Sometimes the drugs that doctors prescribe turn out to be the culprit behind a patient’s suffering. In these situations the patient may not be best served by a medical malpractice claim, but instead may have a product liability claim against the drug manufacturer. Of course, if the doctor was aware of the problems with the drug and prescribed it anyway, he or she may have committed malpractice on top of the product liability issue. This is why it is so important to speak with an attorney whenever you have been injured by the medical treatment you have received. Any type of drug can turn out to be dangerous. Currently it appears that certain antibacterials may actually be harming patients.
Some Antibacterials Linked to Peripheral Neuropathy
Antibacterials called Levaquin and Avelox have been linked to peripheral neuropathy according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA started requiring labels for all “fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs” back in 2013 to inform patients that the drugs can cause peripheral neuropathy and explain in more detail what that condition is. Peripheral neuropathy is serious nerve damage that can be permanent. In can result in pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or change in sensation to light touch, pain, or temperature. This class of drugs includes Levaquin and Avelox. These drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat or prevent certain types of bacterial infections.
FDA’s Warnings May Not Be Enough
USA Today reported late last year that the FDA’s warnings may not be enough. A citizen’s petition has called for the FDA to expand its warnings to alert the medical community to other consequences using these drugs may carry. Patients claim to have suffered consequences beyond nerve damage including things like mitochondrial damage and psychiatric side effects.
Drugs May be Over Prescribed
Others argue that these drugs are being prescribed when they should not be a doctor’s drug of choice. The argument is that these drugs do serve an important purpose, in that they can fight serious infections that other antibiotics cannot combat. But the drugs are being overused.
They are now being prescribed to patients with much less serious ailments like sinus congestion and urinary-tract infections. While nerve-damage may be a side effect worth risking to save a person’s life when a blood infection or drug-resistant infection is killing them, risking permanent nerve damage to clear up some congestion is a totally different picture. Part of the problem of over-prescription can be traced back to a serious problem in our healthcare system–the way in which drugs are marketed. When a drug company has a patent on a drug and can make a lot of money off of it they market it heavily to both consumers and physicians for the very purpose of convincing doctors to prescribe the drug even though it may not be in the patient’s best interest. As a result drug companies benefit at the cost of patients.
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