The Dirty (Half) Dozen Dangerous Drugs in Kentucky

by | Mar 15, 2022 | Injuries

Regardless of the medical issue or any other variables, pills are usually the preferred medical intervention. Today’s drugs are so powerful that about a fifth of all pill patients develop serious addiction issues. Largely because of the coronavirus pandemic, these problems are no longer limited to physical maladies, like chronic diseases or chronic pain. Overprescription of various antidepressants is now a serious problem as well.

Sometimes, the problem lies not with the drug itself, but the side-effects of this medication. For example, Amien, a popular sleep aid, has a very unusual side-effect. Many people who take Ambien drive in their sleep. Automatism (sleep driving) is a bit like somnambulism (sleep walking), but sleep driving is obviously much more dangerous. Automatism could be a defense to a DUI-drug case in some situations. But that’s the subject of another blog.

If you or a loved one struggles with the unintended consequences of drug use, be they addiction or a dangerous side-effect, a Lexington personal injury attorney may be able to obtain compensation for your economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are often available in these cases as well.

Synthetic Opioids

These painkillers include Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet. These drugs are a lot like opium and its derivative, heroin. But, they are manufactured in laboratories and not found naturally.

Essentially, synthetic opioids are muscle relaxers. So, they are ideal for moderate or severe pain. Unfortunately, these powerful drugs often relax every muscle in the body, including the lungs. If breathing slows down too much, hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) sets in. The result could be a serious, permanent, and often fatal brain injury.

Digoxin (Lanoxin)

Physicians prescribe this drug to people with congestive heart failure and other such cardiovascular issues. This drug is so strong that its effects are often uncontrollable. These serious consequences include cardiac arrhythmia (rapid heartbeat) and bradycardia (slow heartbeat). Both conditions are normally life-threatening. Furthermore, since it is so strong, allergic reactions are a major issue. Anaphylactic reactions, like the aforementioned heart rate side-effects, are usually life-threatening.

A number of studies have established a direct link between digoxin intake and an increased risk of accidental death.

Cough Medicine

Are you surprised to see this substance this high on a list of dangerous drugs? You shouldn’t be. The primary active ingredient in medicines like TheraFlu, Robitussin, and NyQuill is dextromethorphan. Even at relatively low levels, DMX causes mental effects, like dissociation and hallucinations, as well as physical effects, like respiratory depression and severe sedation.

There is an important lesson here. No drug is completely safe, even if it is prescribed by a doctor, approved by the FDA, or available at Walmart. Usually, drug manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their dangerous or defective drugs cause.

Colchicine

This anti-gout drug also treats some other inflammatory conditions. The FDA has classified this drug as a high-risk substance, mostly because the therapeutic index is so narrow. Briefly, a therapeutic index is the difference between a therapeutic and toxic dose. Many drugs have a margin for error in terms of dosage mistakes. But not colchicine. In fact, the toxic and therapeutic dose amounts often overlap.

Such dose mistakes are usually either physician or pharmacist errors. Licensed vocational nurses or pharmacy techs, at places like nursing homes, could also give incorrect dosage to patients. Usually, the standard of care is the same in each situation, although there is a significant educational difference between a doctor and a pharmacy tech.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

If you were surprised to see cough syrup on this list, you might be really surprised to see a drug many people take several times a day almost every day. Tylenol emergencies send about 50,000 Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year. That’s many more emergencies than most of the other drugs on this list.

According to the National Institutes of Health, acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States. 

When these cases go to court, many drug companies blame the victims for not following the drug’s usage instructions. Generally, however, this defense does not hold up in court. The standard of care is so high in these cases that only a completely unforeseeable misuse, like ingesting an entire bottle of Tylenol at once, defeats a strict liability claim.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act. #goodelawyers