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Legal Options if Mental Health Drugs Cause Adverse Side Effects
Anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs can be of great benefit to patients, but sometimes the side-effects and adverse reactions can be dangerous. If you or a loved one is suffering after taking these powerful prescriptions, contact an Ohio product liability lawyer who can help you seek compensation to recover from your injuries and pain and suffering right away.
Anti-Depressant and Anti-Psychotic Drugs
Anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs are often prescribed to treat various medical problems. As the name indicates, an anti-depressant is given to people who have depression (also called major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder). While patients cannot be cured, these drugs are used to help lessen their symptoms and allow them to live their lives. Anti-psychotics aid people with major depression, mania, or bipolar disorder. Oftentimes these drugs cause side effects that can lead to serious injury or even death.
If you or your loved one have experienced dangerous side effects from taking anti-depressants or anti-psychotics, call an Ohio personal injury attorney at Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free case consultation.
Serious Side Effects of Anti-Depressants and Anti-Psychotics
Patients on anti-depressants can experience minor, but irritating issues like dry mouth, constipation or diarrhea, and loss of appetite. These drugs can also cause more intense problems such as internal bleeding, blood pressure issues, kidney failure, eyesight problems like blurred vision, and heart attacks.
People on anti-psychotics may suffer from symptoms that mirror those of Parkinson’s disease, including tremors, muscle ticks or spasms, or restlessness.
The Black Box Warning
Doctors often treat depression in both adults and children using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While SSRIs have proven to be effective treatment options, they can also expose the patient to other problems. Clinical studies show that children and adolescents taking SSRIs may experience increased thoughts of suicide, which can push these young patients to attempt suicide. To prove it was the drug that induced these thoughts – and not the depressive state of mind – doctors conducted a trial with 2,200 children. Some were given the SSRI, while some took a sugar pill. Of the 2,200 patients, 4% of those taking the SSRI experienced suicidal thoughts or behavior, double the amount found in patients taking the sugar pill.
These results caused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to give “black box warnings” to many SSRIs, which are used most often when treating depressed children and adolescents. A black box warning is the most serious warning the FDA issues, given to prescription drugs (not just anti-depressants) that is indicated by the black box that surrounds it. Patients must heed these warnings, and carefully observe any side effects so that they can try to avoid possibly devastating results. In the case of SSRIs, the black box warning indicates that young people taking the drug must be closely monitored for changes in behavior and increased thoughts of suicide.
FDA Alerts for Common Anti-Depressant Drugs
As previously noted, SSRIs are some of the most common medications used to treat depression in both adults and children. While these drugs have fewer side effects than medications physicians once relied upon, they are not completely safe for everyone. Some of the most popular SSRIs prescribed include:
Effexor, while not an SSRI, is closely related to these drugs and is also often prescribed to help treat depression.
Additionally, patients who take SSRIs with some triptans can face a potentially lethal serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome can cause symptoms like high blood pressure, muscle twitches, and confusion. People with this severe, life-threatening syndrome can experience loss of consciousness, high fevers, and seizures. Those taking SSRIs need to be very careful if they are also prescribed triptans, which are a drug class used to treat migraines or cluster headaches.
FDA Alerts for Common Anti-Psychotic Drugs
Some of the most popular anti-psychotic drugs have been flagged for problems they can cause in certain patients:
- Studies involving both Seroquel and Risperidone show these drugs can cause a higher mortality rate in patients displaying symptoms of dementia. Because of the risk of death, the FDA ordered Seroquel’s and Risperidone’s manufacturers to include black box warnings on the drugs.
- In May of 2016, the FDA issued warnings for Zyprexa and Simbyax, citing that the drugs can cause patients to develop a skin disorder. The condition is referred to as Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS), and starts as a rash that usually spreads all over the body. It can also cause a fever, swollen lymph nodes, swelling of the face, and an increase in the white blood cells that fight infections. DRESS can damage many organs and possibly lead to death.
- Also in May of 2016, the FDA found that patients who take Abilify may develop problems curbing their impulses. These patients may get intense urges to binge eat, shop, or gamble, and they are unable to control them. This compulsive behavior can be psychologically damaging as well as draining on a patient’s health, finances, and personal life.
What Are My Legal Options?
If you’ve experienced severe side effects from taking anti-depressants or anti-psychotics, you may be entitled to compensation. Talk to an attorney about your case to see if you can file a product liability claim. Damages from the claim can help pay your medical bills, get your family through tough times while you’re not working, and help with your pain and suffering.
How the Dangerous Drug and Devices Lawyers at KNR Can Help
Our Ohio dangerous drug lawyers have years of experience helping people in your situation. We know how difficult it can be to discover that the drug you’re taking to get well is actually doing more harm to your body than good. We’re not afraid to go head-to-head with the big pharmaceutical companies and fight for your rights.