Drug interactions are not always easily recognized by manufacturers or even physicians. But, as drugs are used more often, interactions may come to light that the public needs to be aware of. When physicians or manufacturers of these products know about interactions, but fail to inform their patients, it becomes an issue of liability as well.
In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about a study that suggested a Type 2 Diabetes drug Onglyza was linked to potential heart failure. In 2015, the FDA then scheduled an advisory panel to examine the risks of this drug as well as other drugs in the same class. Now, according to The Legal Examiner, a new study has been published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), that raises more concerns with Onglyza and other types of diabetes medications. The researchers found that when these drugs were combined with sulphonylureas, a type of antidiabetic drug, they increase the risk for patient hypoglycemia – low blood sugar – and other life-threatening conditions.
Is Hypoglycemia That Legal?
According to the study, the risk of hypoglycemia is a leading complication of diabetic patients who are 60 years or older and have a long history of the disease. It is the second leading cause of hospital admissions for diabetic patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. Also, it accounts for 20 to 25 percent of all hospital admissions for adverse drug reactions and can create heart failure. It has also been associated with an increased risk for falls and fractures.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar levels drop to unsafe amounts – about 70 mg/dl or less. Some symptoms of it can include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blurred vision
The medication known as Onglyza, which is a DPP-4 inhibitor, increases the risk of hypoglycemia compared to other medications when it is combined with sulphonylureas.
What the Study Discovered
Researchers reviewed data from 10 independent studies which included more than 6,000 participants. There was a total of 4,020 participants who were taking these DPP-4 inhibitors (like Onglyza). They were taking these with sulphonylureas, and 2,526 were taking placebos with their sulphonylureas. The results showed that by adding the DPP-4 inhibitors, the risk for hypoglycemia rose by 50 percent.
When a Drug Causes a Reaction, Who is Responsible?
Sometimes, interactions are not an act of negligence. But, when the research is there and manufacturers as well as physicians are aware of the dangerous interactions, they must inform their patients. Physicians have a duty to ensure that their patients are not taking drugs that can dangerously interact with one another. If a physician prescribes two medications that can lead to dangerous interactions, he or she could be legally liable for the injuries and damages that occur.
If you suffered from a dangerous drug interaction, whether for diabetes medications or another type of medication, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Connecticut right away. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.