You’ve probably seen ads for dangerous drugs on TV and updates about them in the news. These days, it seems like they’re everywhere. How can you know what to avoid? Which drugs are really dangerous? It can be tough to sift through all the conflicting information. Obviously certain drugs are dangerous if you take too much or don’t take them the right way, but some drugs are dangerous even under the best conditions. To make your task a little easier and your life a little safer, we’re breaking down 5 of the most dangerous prescription drugs on the market today.
5. Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy has been in the news of late as the subject of thousands of lawsuits. Testosterone replacement products have historically been used to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which the body cannot maintain healthy testosterone levels. Hypogonadism is different from the naturally decreasing testosterone levels men experience as they age.
Looking to boost sales of testosterone replacement products, the makers of these products decided to target aging men in general. They started aggressive marketing campaigns addressing low testosterone, or “low T.” These ads claimed that low T could cause fatigue, loss of energy, loss of libido, and other symptoms. As a result of these marketing tactics, the number of men taking testosterone replacement drugs has quadrupled over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, the majority of these men don’t actually need testosterone replacement.
Even worse, taking testosterone replacement drugs when you don’t need them can cause serious side effects. Thousands of otherwise-healthy men have experienced heart attacks and strokes as a result of taking testosterone replacement therapy to treat low T. Because it’s so frequently prescribed to people who don’t need it and because the side effects are so severe, testosterone replacement therapy is number 5 on our list of most dangerous prescription drugs.
Fosamax is a drug used to treat osteoporosis, or thinning and weakening of the bone. The drug is designed to stop the natural process by which your body destroys and rebuilds old bone tissue so that more bone tissue can build up, strengthening your bones. Unfortunately, Fosamax and other members of the biphosphonate class of drugs can cause terrible side effects.
Among the less serious side effects caused by Fosamax are esophageal ulcers and serious pain throughout the body. In some cases it actually weakens the bones, putting users at risk for atypical femoral fractures. That can mean weeks of expensive hospital stays and terrible pain. Worse, it can cause esophageal cancer and osteonecrosis of the jaw, a condition in which the jawbone becomes rotten and must be removed.
That puts Fosamax at number 4 on our list of the most dangerous prescription drugs.
Patients who have experienced blood clots or are at high risk for blood clots are frequently treated with blood thinners. These include warfarin, heparin, and several newer drugs. Xarelto is one of the newest blood thinners on the market. It’s highly effective and it’s unlikely to cause any serious side effects. So, why is it on our list? Because when it does cause side effects, they’re deadly.
If you use blood thinners, you know they require a careful balance. You have to have your blood checked regularly to ensure that you’re on the right dose. Too little and you run the risk of clots. Too much and you run the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. Typically, uncontrolled bleeding can be stopped and controlled by administration of an antidote. In the case of warfarin, the most common blood thinner, that antidote is vitamin K. This is where Xarelto earns its spot on our list – it has no antidote. There is no way to stop uncontrolled bleeding caused by a too-high dose of Xarelto, meaning you’re at serious risk of bleeding to death if your dose is off. That’s led to hundreds of lawsuits against the makers of the drug for putting it on the market without providing an antidote.
Risperdal is a popular drug used to treat bipolar disorder. It’s an atypical antipsychotic, which are typically used only after other treatment options have failed to control the disorder. In treating bipolar disorder, it is generally regarded as being fairly effective. The problem with Risperdal is in its common off-label use.
Risperdal is a drug intended for a specific purpose: treatment of bipolar disorder in adults. That’s what it has been tested and FDA-approved to do. Unfortunately, doctors are increasingly prescribing it to treat ADHD in children. In children, atypical antipsychotics have a number of unpleasant side effects, including substantial weight gain, tremors, spasms, and dizziness. In serious cases, children on Risperdal have developed Tardive Dyskinesia, which causes serious muscle twitches that may or may not stop when the child stops taking the medication. Risperdal and other atypical antipsychotics can also cause Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), which causes spasms, muscle rigidity, and high fever. NMS can be fatal.
In addition to these relatively rare serious side effects, Risperdal has been shown to cause gynecomastia in children. Gynecomastia refers to breast enlargement in a male. Stopping the medication won’t help, either. Gynecomastia is permanent. In some cases the unwanted breast tissue can be removed by liposuction. More serious cases require invasive surgery. This has led to a host of lawsuits against the makers of Risperdal and other atypical antipsychotics for marketing and recommending the drugs for use in children, despite the lack of testing and the evidence that such off-label use was unsafe.
Because of the risk posed to children, Risperdal and other atypical antipsychotics take the number 2 spot on our list of the most dangerous prescription medications.
SSRIs, or selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors, are the most common type of drug used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. You’ve probably heard of them: Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, and more. SSRIs are frequently demonized in popular culture, but that’s not why they make our list. There are a number of reasons they could be on a list like this, including increased suicidal tendencies and serious sexual dysfunction in patients. However, SSRIs take the number 1 spot because of the risk of birth defects.
In pregnant women, SSRIs have been shown to cause a 60% increase in the risk of heart defects and a 30% increase in the risk of pulmonary defects. SSRI use during pregnancy is also linked to Persistant Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN). PPHN is a life-threatening condition in which the infant’s blood supply is forced away from the longs, starving the rest of the body of oxygen. Other birth defects linked to the use of SSRIs include cleft palates, holes in the heart, and spina bifida.
As a result of these heartbreaking side effects, SSRI users are bringing lawsuits all over the country against the makers of the drugs for marketing them as safe for pregnant women. That makes SSRIs our number 1 most dangerous prescription drug.
Have you been injured by taking one of these medication?
If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Remember that the law limits the amount of time you have to file a case, so contact one of our experienced dangerous drug lawyers for a free consultation and case evaluation today. We’ll help you understand your options and choose the path that’s right for you.