Clark, Love & Hutson, GP

Dangerous side effects may outweigh potential drug benefits

Something may have been bothering you for a while. It could be fatigue, not sleeping at all, severe body aches or pains, migraines or even something more severe. You go to your doctor and find out you have an illness or condition. What if you were given medication by your doctor? You trust your doctor and his treatment suggestions, but how would you know if it is indeed safe to take?

 Medication is supposed to help

The mere thought of this can be extremely frightening. You take a medication that is supposed to help you and sometimes, it can do just the opposite. Every day, manufactures sell drugs without making sure they are properly tested. Doctors, then prescribe those medicines that have risky side effects. It is the drug company’s responsibility to make sure that your doctor has that information. You have to ask your doctor will the medication hurt you in any way. Will it do more harm than good?

An example of possibly serious side effects

One example of a drug with dangerous side effects is called Lipitor. This is a medication given to fight high cholesterol and heart disease. It is in a group of drugs called statins. Lipitor, the number one statin on the drug market, works to help lower cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, Lipitor also has some very serious side effects.

 They include:

  • Muscle pain and damage
  • Liver damage
  • Memory loss
  • Increased blood sugar or type-2 diabetes

Other drugs with dangerous side effects include Xerelto, used as a blood thinner. It has been known to cause internal bleeding. Birth control pills Yazmin and Yaz are linked to blood clots and strokes according to several studies and the FDA.  Avandia and Actos treat those with type-2 diabetes and have contributed to heart failure, blood cancer and heart attacks according to reports from the Mayo Clinic. 

A drug company's responsibility

It is entirely the drug company’s responsibility to be honest about the side effects and possible complications for drugs like Lipitor as they can be life–threatening. Doctors also need to be educated on what is and is not safe to prescribe. A doctor should be aware of the side effects and discuss them in detail with each patient to whom the drug is prescribed. Understanding and communicating whether the benefits outweigh the risks can in some instances mean the difference between life and death.

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