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Not All Drugs are As Safe As They are Marketed and Advertised

Many types of over-the-counter drugs have provided immediate relief from pains and illnesses, like headache, toothache, cough and colds, and fever; prescription medicines, on the other hand, have helped control and/or treat serious health concerns, like heart ailment, diabetes, manic attacks and others – a good thing since millions of people in the U.S. rely on pharmaceutical products to regulate their physical and/or mental condition.

Perfectly safe and effective drugs can work wonders, no doubt about that. However, safe and effective, never go together often for what may be safe for one, may serve as poison (or a cause of another type of illness) to another, and what may just be the right dosage for one may not be enough or may be too much for someone else.

Before drugs are made available in the market, it first needs to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; but, before any of these can obtain an FDA approval, the drug’s manufacturer will first need to show proofs that the drug has been tested and proven safe and effective for patient use.

Despite the extensive research and tests conducted by pharmaceutical experts, however, many drugs still get reported to the FDA as causing the development of more serious illnesses or causing death in some of those who use them.

To make sure that drugs are safe is a legal obligation to all pharmaceutical companies. Besides this, drug makes are also obliged to include in their drug’s product label the risk/s associated with using their medicine. Companies that negligently fail in their duty to inform consumers about the risks associated with using their product can be sought after by those harmed through the use of these (products). Legal action that will enable those harmed to seek compensation from negligent pharmaceuticals is a right that victims have under the law. As explained in the website of the law firm Evans Moore, LLC, companies whose products have a direct effect on the health and well-being of the public have a responsibility to make sure they make safety a priority at every stage of the design and manufacturing process. When corners are cut to save time and money, lives are put at risk.

People who are harmed instead of being provided relief due to the use of medicinal products can hold the responsible company liable for whatever injury they sustain. There is no shortcut and easy way to making negligent manufacturers answer for their mistakes, however. Often, the fight is brought to court by filing a product liability lawsuit. It may give an injured victim the legal leverage necessary if he/she were to be represented by a highly-skilled product liability lawyer.

How Taxotere Works To Treat Cancer

Taxotere is an FDA approved drug for use in chemotherapy. It is classified as a “plant alkaloid,” “taxane” and “antimicrotubuloe agent.” Known by the generic name doxetacel, taxotere has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the following use:

  • Treatment of breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, advanced stomach cancer, head and neck cancer, and metastatic prostate cancer
  • Likewise it is under investigation for treatment of small cell lung, ovarian, bladder, and pancreatic cancer, soft tissue, and melanoma.

Taxotere is administered to the patient through the use of intravenous vein. Pill form of the drug is not available. The amount of the drug that will be administered to a patient will depend on several factors which includes height and weight, general health and other health issues and the type of cancer being treated. The doctor will be the one to determine the dosage and set the schedule.

As for the side effects, most patients do not experience the side effects that are listed. The good news is that most of the side effects are almost always reversible in terms of their onset and duration. There is a wide range of options that can help reduce or prevent the spread of side effects. Aside from chemotherapy caused permanent hair loss, other side effects of taxotere include low white blood cell count and low red blood cell count. There is also fluid retention, peripheral neuropathy, nausea, diarrhea, to name just a few.

So when do you know that it is time to call a healthcare provider or doctor? When the patient has a fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or has chills. The latter may indicate possible signs of infection. The following symptoms may also require medical attention.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools, or blood in stools or urine
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Swollen ankle, weight gain, swelling stomach
  • Shortness of breath

Defensive Medicine, Oftentimes the Real Cause of Patient’s Death

“I have complete faith in you.” These words, when uttered by a patient (or a patient’s family) to a doctor will definitely have considerable weight, especially if the patient’s real condition is 50% speculation. Despite any obscurity to diagnosis, a doctor should have ready answers to family members’ questions; probably even a straightforward and honest, I do not know what is causing all this, yet,” if necessary.

Many doctors would have surely had such experience – of being fully trusted and seeing, in the end, how the faith has actually worked, even without fully understanding the patient’s sudden leap to recovery. Maybe a lot of doctors would compliment themselves, thinking that they have done the right procedures and have given just the right medication.

Those who would venture deeper into faith may most probably be led to recall a line or two of the new Hippocratic Oath, which says:

“I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures that are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”

It is a sad fact, though, how majority of today’s doctors in the US are vehemently refrained from making medical decisions based on faith or instinct (developed through diagnosis of hundreds of like cases). Defensive medicine may have a lot to do with this – a situation wherein doctors in emergency departments, hospital wards, operating rooms and offices are told to dismiss basing diagnosis on possibilities of suffer legal consequences. Thus, in fear of being sued and accused of not following procedures despite being quite certain of what a patient’s real problem might be, doctors decide to rather subject patients to take medications or undergo medical procedures – both to the patient’s loss.

Prescribing medicine is one instance that can be related to defensive medicine, such as in the case of Depakote, a prescription drug intended for patients with bipolar disorder in treatment of their seizures and episodes of mania. Depakote side effects, however, have proven to be more harmful as the drug has been linked to chronic and permanent health problems, as well as the cause of facial deformities in children whose mothers have taken the medicine during pregnancy.

In some instances, recommending that a patient undergo a da Vinci-assisted surgery (da Vinci is a multi-armed robot designed to perform minimally invasive surgeries) to effectively treat his/her health complaint has resulted to serious injuries due to the unchecked da Vinci robot dangers.

There are many other medical instances wherein a patient’s situation and well-being are compromised due to defensive medicine. This fear of being sued is largely due to the tort system which can easily put a doctor in hot waters, being accused of not having done enough, if they let instinct affect their decision, or of doing more than what was necessary if they follow procedures to the letter.