Between 2004 and 2010 there were $7 billion in lawsuits, fines, and penalties to the biggest drug companies in the nation. The unfortunate fact of the matter is, however, that these drug companies are making much more profit than that - so the dangers of prescription drugs continue to thrive. Here is a list of five of the most dangerous prescription drugs.
Prozac, the name brand for fluoxetine, is an antidepressant that has been on the market since 1987. It is most commonly prescribed for people suffering from depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia nervosa, and panic disorder. Tens of millions of people all over the world have been prescribed this medication, despite the fact that it is known to cause serotonin syndrome and might even increase the amount of suicidal thoughts and violent actions. Birth defects have also been reported as a result of Prozac use by pregnant women.
There have been more than 150 lawsuits against Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, for the effects of this dangerous drug. Joseph Wesbecker, the murderer of 8 people (as well as himself) and injurer of 12, had begun taking Prozac only a few weeks before this tragic shooting. This was in 1989. The families of the victims actually sued Eli Lilly - but they lost. A similar but less deadly case occurred with a 16-year-old boy just a few years ago. He stabbed a friend of his, and his doctor later said it was due to a mood disorder caused by the Prozac.
Actos is a brand name for pioglitazone and is a drug that is supposed to help people who have type 2 diabetes. It was FDA-approved in 1999 and has since been prescribed to 10 million people. Although originally hailed as the best new type 2 diabetes drug, Actos' label received an FDA-added warning in 2007 that heart failure could be a side effect of taking Actos. Four years later, the risk of bladder cancer was added to the label - and it increases the risk of bladder cancer by 40%! It is so risky that Germany and France banned the drug altogether. According to more recent studies, the risk increase for bladder cancer could be as much as 83%. Needless to say, thousands of lawsuits have hit Actos - and for good reason.
The brand name for a type of testosterone gel, AngroGel is currently on the market and has worrying statistics. One study shows that the risk of heart attacks in men who are taking the drug actually doubled. Other studies show similar results. There are a number of lawsuits already being filed against this drug for people who have suffered heart attacks or strokes because of it.
Accutane (isotretinoin) was FDA-approved in 1982 and immediately began helping people cure their acne after only a few months of taking the pill. It came at a high cost, however, as the side effects started piling up. There was inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, suicidal thoughts, birth defects, and liver damage - just to name a few. There were 173 suicides associated with Accutane in 2002 alone. Women were banned from taking Accutane during pregnancy, and they were more or less banned from getting pregnant while taking Accutane. Stomach pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding were one of the many side effects listed. In 2005, Kamie Kendall sued (and won) for $10.5 million because she needed her colon and rectum removed. Countless lawsuits have been filed and won against Accutane.
This drug, approved by the FDA in 1980, is metoclopramide. It is used for pain relief from migraines, heartburn, acid reflux, nausea, and more. In 2001 alone there were at least a million people prescribed this medication. Unfortunately for the people taking this drug, it has caused Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) in several thousand people. TD is a neurological disorder that decreases control of facial and bodily movements. It can severely lower a person's quality of life. For this reason, more than 5,000 lawsuits against metoclopramide manufacturers have occurred.