In this day and age, many people are very reliant on prescription medications. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Preventions reports that over 47% of Americans are using at least one prescription drug. This is likely because pharmaceutical companies and physicians are constantly pushing these products on consumers. According to USA Today, the amount of money spent on prescription drugs in 2011 was roughly $320 billion; this represents a 3.7% increase from the previous year. Doctors often go unquestioned by their patients; once a physician prescribes a drug for a condition, patients tend to follow the doctor’s orders blindly without knowing just how dangerous these drugs may be.
One example is when a physician diagnoses a patient with diabetes; drug therapy is often the go-to option for correcting the issue even when dietary changes may be the answer. As with any medical condition, patients should ask questions and be leery of the medications that are prescribed. It is imperative to make sure that the benefit of the drug will truly outweigh the risk. With diabetes, an all too common disease, the drugs that are a part of a daily regimen to regulate blood sugar levels are oftentimes associated with dangerous side effects. Actos (also known by the generic name pioglitazone) is one of the drugs that is used for patients with diabetes, and it is associated with life-threatening side effects, such as bladder cancer, and it has been linked with worsening the condition in patients who already have it. This is because the body retains fluid due to taking this drug; therefore, edema and congestive heart failure may occur in patients who take this diabetes medication. These side effects have caused countries like France to remove the drug from the market completely. It has also led many users to file an Actos lawsuit against the drug manufacturer, Takeda. Takeda is trying to develop another hit drug to treat lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Takeda had planned for its new diabetes drug Alogliptin to replace Actos when its patent expires in August 2012, but the drug has failed to gain marketing approval from the FDA.
Actos is not the only diabetes medication in the thiazolidinedione category known to cause serious side effects. Avandia is known to cause heart attack, heart disease and heart failure. Additionally, along with other harmful cardiovascular risks, Avandia may lead to liver issues and, in some cases, complete liver failure occurred as a result of taking this medication. Because of the complications, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared Avandia a dangerous option for people who suffer from diabetes and it is no longer marketed in the United States. In fact, this particular diabetes medication requires patients and doctors to go through a special program to receive a prescription.
It is very important for the consumers to stay informed about these medications, which are creating life-threatening side effects. There are many resources, such as patient advocates and medication awareness sites to find out further information about potentially harmful drugs.