How serious are the side effects on drug commercials?

By on 11-06-2018 in Defective Drugs

Anytime we see a commercial for prescription drugs on TV, the last couple of seconds are filled with a laundry list of potential side effects. For example, the prescription sleep aid Lunesta claims to help get a full night of sleep but then goes on to mention that the drug may increase thoughts of suicide or induce throat swelling that ends up being fatal. These seem like fairly intense side effects for what should be a simple sleep aid. So why do prescription drugs come with so many potential side effects? Are all them relevant to us? Let’s take a look at some of the major reasons that these side effects warning are in place.


Prescription Drug Companies Must Warn for All Potential Side Effects

Because of the way drug companies are regulated by the FDA, drug companies must inform potential users about all the possible side effects. When you go into the doctor’s office and discuss treatment options, your doctor will likely only bring up potential side effects that are relevant to you. Everyone reacts differently to medications depending on their age, sex, and current health condition. When an ad is played on TV, companies could be advertising to literally anybody. Because companies don’t know their target audience, they list all possible side effects in order to stay within FDA guidelines.


Drug Companies Want to Avoid Liability

If you experience harmful side effects from a prescription drug and were not properly warned about the possibility of these side effects, you may have the option to sue the drug company. This is another reason that drug companies make a point to list out all potential side effects. Let’s revisit the Lunesta example. Lunesta may know that only women under the age of 20 that also take two other specific medications have the potential to experience throat swelling on Lunesta. That’s a very specific group that isn’t likely to be taking a sleep aid. However, if companies don’t warn, then just one person getting injured could cost them several million dollars in a single settlement.


The Seriousness of Side Effects Should be Discussed with Your Doctor

Because of the reasons mentioned above, it is not likely that you will experience every side effected listed on the commercial for a prescription drug. However, depending on your health status, lifestyle, and other drugs you’re currently taking, some serious side effects may be relevant. Your doctor knows your personal situation best. Consult with a physician before taking new prescription drugs, and discuss what treatment options are right for you.


Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

While researching for this blog, I read some helpful information on a website for the Law Offices of William J. Luse. The Law Offices of William J. Luse take on cases of medical malpractice in the Myrtle Beach area. Medical malpractice is a wide area of law that can look very different case by case. However, this area does include situations where drug companies were negligent or fraudulent in informing patients or doctors of a drug’s side effects.


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