There are times when the drugs we are prescribed to make us better actually cause us harm. We trust doctors to make the right decisions and for the drugs we take to actually help us recover. But, some medications have ingredients that may cause additional health issues and dangerous side effects. Many of these dangerous prescription drugs are under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or have been recalled for causing serious or fatal injuries.
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a number of products intended to treat low testosterone, or “low-T,” in men. Reports of an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and death in men who use these products, however, recently prompted the FDA to announce an investigation into the effects of these drugs on the patients who take them.
The FDA launched its investigation after two separate studies were published in late 2013 and early 2014, both of which suggested that men who were prescribed testosterone therapy might face an increased risk of dangerous cardiac conditions. The studies identified an increased risk of approximately 30 percent of stroke, heart attack, and death in older men who were prescribed testosterone supplements. One study found that the risk appeared to be highest within the first 90 days the patients were taking the medication.
The blood thinning medication Xarelto has been heralded as a breakthrough for patients with certain heart conditions and risk of stroke. Prior to the release of Xarelto and a related medication, Pradaxa, few blood-thinning medication options existed. Those that did, like warfarin, required constant monitoring of patients and could cause side effects that were severe or even deadly if patients were not carefully watched.
The new blood thinners, including Xarelto, were originally touted as medications that would require less monitoring. However, some top cardiologists are urging caution in prescribing these medications. Growing reports of injury and death related to Xarelto and Pradaxa use has led some doctors to realize that, without more careful monitoring, the “new” blood thinning medications are no safer for patients than the “old” ones, according to a recent Reuters article published in the Huffington Post.
Two studies published in 2013 and 2014 indicate that the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding in patients taking Pradaxa (dabigatran) may be higher than the risks faced by patients who take another blood-thinning medication such as Coumadin (warfarin).
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pradaxa to help prevent blood clots and strokes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, a common type of heart rhythm problem. In 2012, the FDA announced an investigation into incidents of internal bleeding suffered by patients who took Pradaxa. Although the FDA noted that clinical trials comparing Pradaxa to other blood thinners showed similar bleeding risks, the agency stated that it was looking into whether the risks on Pradaxa were actually higher than the trials had indicated.