Prescription Drug and Medical Device Dangers that Seniors Should Know About
Americans spend billions of dollars on medication and medical devices every year.
There’s no denying that these drugs and devices have saved lives. However, some of them have side effects that are more dangerous than the condition they are designed to treat.
Because seniors suffer a disproportionate number of chronic illnesses, they often fall victim to these side effects. It’s important for seniors to be aware of the risks.
Cancers and Other Dangers Linked to Diabetes Drugs
Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects tens of millions of seniors. There are several type 2 diabetes drugs on the market that are used to regulate the condition.
Unfortunately, Januvia, Byetta and Actos have been linked to fatal cases of pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, bladder cancer and pancreatitis.
It’s important that seniors talk to their doctors about their medication choices when it comes to controlling diabetes.
Drugs Meant to Prevent Stroke Create Other Fears
Blood thinners (also called anticoagulants) are prescribed for heart patients at risk for a stroke. For many decades, patients relied on warfarin.
A new blood thinner called Pradaxa was approved by the FDA in October 2010 and welcomed as an alternative to warfarin that didn’t require regular monitoring.
Pradaxa, however, has been linked to deadly bleeding events. Unlike warfarin, there is no antidote for uncontrolled Pradaxa-related bleeding. Xarelto is another blood thinning medication with no bleeding antidote.
Mesh Dangers for Women
Transvaginal mesh is at the center of more than 20,000 lawsuits in the U.S. Mesh is a plastic device used to support organs in women who suffer from Stress Urinary Incontinence or Pelvic Organ Prolapse Mesh. It’s implanted through the vagina.
The implantation method was intended to be less invasive, but instead has been linked to serious complications.
Woman report the following injuries:
• Mesh Erosion: This occurs when the mesh moves through the vaginal wall and into surrounding organs. Women may develop abscesses, as well, and experience intense pain.
• Organ Perforation. This occurs when rough edges of the mesh puncture the vagina or nearby organs. In many cases, additional surgery is required.
The FDA, which once downplayed the number of complications related to transvaginal mesh, changed its stance in 2011 and warned patients of the high risks involved.
Companies Accused of Putting Profit over Safety
Many of these drugs and devices have been extremely profitable for manufacturers, bringing in billions of dollars within in a short period of time on the market.
Watchdog groups cite the lure of profits and a lack of testing as reasons why dangerous drugs and devices are sold.
It’s important for seniors and their caregivers to research the medications and devices they are using. It could mean the difference between life and death.
Julian Hills is a content writer and blogger for Drugwatch. His journalism career has taken him from newspapers to local television news stations and even a 24-hour cable network in the Southeast. Julian is a graduate of Florida State University.
Thanks to Drugwatch for sending another guest blog!! 🙂