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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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Medicines and drugs are designed to make people feel better. But when they are defective, the same medications can lead to deadly consequences. The world still remembers the horror of “Thalidomide Babies,” in the early 1960s when babies were born without arms or legs. The over-the-counter drug thalidomide, which was first marketed in West Germany in 1957 as the “only non-barbiturate sedative” of the time. It was largely used by pregnant women to deal with morning sickness. The makers claimed that the drug is ‘completely safe’ even for mother and child. Unfortunately, the drug lead to a severe birth defect crisis called phocomelia to babies born to mothers using thalidomide during the early days of their pregnancy.

Even recently, Pfizer’s antidepressant med Zoloft was linked with birth defect. Although the company claimed that Zoloft is safe and was not known to cause congenital heart problems, one of their own scientists recommended changes to its label warnings. Pfizer is fighting over 1,000 lawsuits against Zoloft, stating that the antidepressant drug triggered heart abnormalities to new-born babies whose mothers used it during pregnancy.

There are many such stories where medications, instead of making our life better and alleviate pain and illness, caused further harm and injury. If this has been a case with you or someone you know, you too can pursue product liability lawsuits and obtain compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering. When you are seeking damages for defective drugs, you are not fighting only for yourself but also ensure that others don’t suffer a similar fate in the future.

Dangerous & Defective Drugs – The Role of FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for administering the safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and medical devices. It not only gives approval to new medications before they hit the market, FDA is also monitors drugs that are currently available on the market. The agency sometimes issue recalls, especially when unforeseen problems arises once the medication/medical device is in widespread use. According to a study published in ABC News, FDA issued around 1,734 drug recalls between 2004 and 2011.

There were 91 Class I recalls during this period, indicating those drugs could have caused serious harm to the patients, including death. Out of these 91 Class I recalls, 34 percent were known to have affected over 100,000 units of a drug. Besides, 64 percent of the recalled drugs between 2004 and 2011 had been already distributed nationwide. The study also reveals that 40 percent of these recalled drugs were contaminated, whereas 25 percent of them were linked with wrong doses and/or release mechanisms. The remaining drug recalls were due to mislabelling or product mix-ups.

Although in most cases FDA responds fast enough to minimize harm, the agency unfortunately learns of a dangerous or defective drug only after patients suffer injury or damage. While recalls are usually voluntary, they often come late as the pharmaceutical industry uses a self-reporting system to report the adverse side effects of a prescription or over-the-counter drug to the FDA. These reports are issued by the drug manufacturers.

When Can You Seek Damage for Defective Drugs?

Defective drugs fall under product liability claims. And just like any product liability lawsuit, manufacturers and sellers are liable for ensuring the safety of their dangerous and/or defective drugs. There are several reasons why a drug is termed as defective or dangerous, these include:

Manufacturing and design problems
Improper marketing
Insufficient or inadequate safety warnings
Failure to proper clinical trial testing
Mislabeled medications

To file a defective drug lawsuit you need to first prove that the pharmaceutical company has negligently or knowingly allowed the dangerous/defective drugs to enter the market, which lead to the injuries. In addition, you can also sue the doctor or the clinic/hospital for prescribing the defective drug to you. If you fail to reach a settlement with the pharmaceutical company and other defendants, you can go for a trail to receive compensation for injuries and damages you have sustained. The financial compensation include:

Pain and suffering
Past and future medical bills and expenses
Punitive damages
Lost wages

You can either file the claim individually or join a class-action lawsuit as defective drugs usually affect a large number of people. While joining a class action has various advantages, those who have sustained serious harm should pursue an individual lawsuit especially if your case has special circumstances or the nature of your injuries are different from others.

Determining Your Claim

If you suspect you have a case of defective drug injury, the first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor and seek medical attention immediately. This will help you prevent further damage. Once you have obtained proper medical attention and if the doctor and other medical reports confirm that the injury was due to the defective drug, contact a defective drugs attorney right away and verify your claims against the pharmaceutical company and/or other defendants.

Also note that defective drugs claims differ from medical error or malpractice claims where a doctor or any other medical professionals fail to meet the required standard of care and/or have administered the wrong medication or dosage. You can file a defective drugs lawsuit only if the injury was the result of a pharmaceutical drug you have used.

Statute of Limitations

Just like any other product liability case, you have a time limitation to file your defective drugs lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations and this time limit varies from state to state. For example, you have 4 years’ time in Florida to file a defective drugs lawsuit but if you are talking to a CT defective drugs lawyer, he/she will advise you to file the claim within 2 years.

There are, however, certain exceptions to allow you to file a lawsuit even if the statute of limitations has run out. Some common circumstances include:

Physical or mental incapacitation of the plaintiff
The injury wasn’t discovered until a later time
The plaintiff was under the age of 18 and his/her residing jurisdiction allows one to file a lawsuit only after their 18th birthday

Conclusion

Defective drugs claims usually involve complex and sophisticated medical and legal knowledge. So if you want to effectively represent yourself, it is recommended to hire a lawyer who not just specializes in product liability claims but in drug cases as well. An experienced drug lawyer will make it easier for you to win the claim.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Every year 12,000 deaths occur in the US because of prescription drug abuse. This number has seen a staggering increase over the last couple of decades. The recreational use of prescription drugs is a serious problem with teens and young adults. National studies show that a teen is more likely to have abused a prescription drug than an illegal street drug.

Many consider prescription drugs safer because they are prescribed by a doctor, but that is just not true. Imbibing these medicines to get high, or using them to self-medicate can be dangerous.

Prescription drugs have serious health risks; this is exactly why they are taken under the instructions of a doctor. Despite being taken under medical guidance these drugs still present a high risk of addiction.

Fatalities occur everyday when people take a pill that they think looks like some other pill. The most important thing to understand is that everyone's body chemistry is different, and that different drugs affect people differently. A drug that would be okay for some could be fatal for others.
 
Types of Prescription Drugs Abused:

Depressants

These drugs are central nervous system depressants and slow down the function of the brain. These include sedatives and tranquilizers which make a person calm and drowsy.

These drugs are intended to reduce tension and anxiety in patients. They are also called downers and come in the form of multicolored tablets, capsules or as a liquid.

Some examples are Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol. They are known as antipsychotics and are supposed to reduce symptoms of mental illness. Depressants such as Xanax, Klonoping, Halcion and Librium are often referred to as "benzos". Barbiturates such as Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal, used as sedatives and sleeping pills, are also often abused.

Higher doses of these drugs can cause memory loss, impaired judgement and a lack of coordination. They have also been found to cause irritability, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Many people experience the opposite effect, like agitation or aggression, than the one intended.

Using depressants with other substances, especially alcohol, can slow breathing and heart rate and can even lead to death.

Opioids

These drugs are painkillers and usually contain opium or opium-like substances, used to treat patients experiencing chronic pain. These drugs cause drowsiness, slowed breathing, constipation, unconsciousness, nausea, and in extreme cases even send a patient into coma.

Continued abuse of opioids can cause physical dependence and addiction. The body gets used to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms can be observed if the use is reduced or stopped.

Withdrawal symptoms sometimes drive an addict towards abuse with renewed vigor. These symptoms can be restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps. Increased tolerance in users can mean increased doses, which can cause greater damage to the body.

Stimulants

These types of drugs are used to increase energy and alertness and also increase blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. These drugs are also called uppers -- cocaine and amphetamines are some examples of the same. These drugs can come in the form of tablets or capsules. Addicts usually swallow these pills or inject them in liquid form or crush and snort them.

These drugs can cause exhaustion, apathy and depression, and the down that follows the up provided by these drugs is usually quite severe. The immediate exhaustion after the high leads the user to want the drug again. Soon enough he forgets the high from the drug and all he tries to achieve is a feeling of normalcy.

Stimulants are dangerously addictive and repeated doses over short periods can lead to feelings of hostility and paranoia. They can also cause high body temperature and arrhythmia. Some examples are Ritalin, Concerta, Biphetamine and Dexedrine. Street names for these drugs can be Kibbles and bits, speed, truck drivers or black beauties.

Antidepressants

These are usually psychiatric drugs that handle depression. These drugs include Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor and Remeron. They come as multicolored tablets or capsules. These drugs can cause nervousness, anxiety, irritability, violent thoughts, tremors and hostility among others. Some studies have also found a high correlation with aggression and criminal behavior.

A study found that 14% of young people taking antidepressants become aggressive and in some cases even violent. These drugs can also cause extreme and irrational behavior. Individuals with no history of violence begin to show aggressive and self-harming behavior. Withdrawal symptoms of this drug are also quite severe and can include anxiety, depression, weeping spells, insomnia, dizziness, vomiting, headaches and tremors.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse:

Opioids – Abusers of these types of drugs will usually experience constipation, depression and low blood pressure. They will also find their breathing shallower than that of non-addicts, and will often experience confusion, sweating and poor coordination.

Antidepressants – Drowsiness, confusion and an unsteady gait are among the prime symptoms experienced by an antidepressant abuser. They often experience poor judgement, involuntary movement of the eyeballs and dizziness.

Stimulants – Those abusing stimulants will see rapid weight loss, increased agitation, irritability and high blood pressure. They will have trouble sleeping, have an irregular heartbeat, restlessness and be victims of impulsive behavior.

Those addicted to prescription medication will often resort to stealing, forging and selling prescriptions to get a fix. Those taking higher doses than prescribed can also be noted as addicts. They will have regular mood swings and more often than not be hostile. They will have erratic sleep cycles and often have impaired decision making skills. Prescription drug abusers often pretend to lose prescriptions and use that as an excuse to get more written. They also tend to visit more than one doctor for a prescription.

Prescription drug abuse is a disease. If you are facing abuse by such an addict get in touch with a dangerous drugs lawyer in Raleigh for a free initial counsel. Those taking more than the medically advised dosage of prescription drugs may not be able to claim damages from the drug manufacturer in case of adverse side-effects.

Self-medicating can be a dangerous habit, so make sure that you follow your doctor's instructions when taking prescription medicines. Keep an eye on the prescription drugs you keep in your house and inform the young adults in your care about their side-effects. Drugs, while beneficial in the hands of a doctor, can be dangerous in the hands of someone just looking for a kick.

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