Common Birth Defects

All mothers want what is best for their children. Pregnant mothers take great precautions to make sure they are doing everything to ensure the health and safety of themselves and their unborn child. However, unfortunately complications occur and at times children are born with birth defects. When a baby is born with part of the body that is missing or malformed, it is a structural birth defect. It is important to be wary of the most common birth defects and the potential causes for them, so that mothers can know how best to prevent them.

The most common type of birth defects are heart defects. These result from incomplete or incorrect development of the fetus’s heart during the beginning weeks of the pregnancy. While this often cannot be prevented, there are many treatments available for this condition.

Another common birth defect is spina bifida. This results from a malformation of the baby’s spine. This occurs during the first month of pregnancy, when the spine is in development. This can be caused by low levels of folic acid in a woman during pregnancy. Folic acid is a vitamin that is vital to cell growth and tissue formation.

Another common birth defect is cleft palate, a malformation of the mouth. Cleft palates can sometimes be caused by and adverse reaction to a certain medication when consumed by pregnant mothers. For example, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, the medication Zofran has been linked to the development of cleft lip in the children of mothers who were prescribed the drug while pregnant. Zofran has additionally been linked to the development of cleft lip and congenital heart defects, and is among the medications not considered safe to prescribe to pregnant women for treatment of certain pregnancy complications, such as severe morning sickness.

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Risperdal and Heart Attacks

There is no question that Risperdal (risperidone) has been the most effective treatment for patients suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism characterized by violent behavior. However, drug companies still have to give adequate warning about the risks to patients that benefit from it.

Psychiatrists maintain that second generation antipsychotics, also called atypical antipsychotics, are far superior to conventional antipsychotics because they are just as or even more effective in managing patient behavior, but they also have fewer side effects. It was not supposed to cause tardive dyskinesia, for instance. When they first came out, it seemed to be true, and this spurred the prescription frenzy for atypical antipsychotics not only for approved but also off-label uses. These include attention deficit hyperactive disorder, insomnia, depression, and dementia.

However, the years have not been kind to Risperdal. A recent court decision seemed to settle once and for all that Risperdal causes severe and irreversible tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movement). Now it seems it also poses a higher-than-usual risk of causing heart attacks and strokes in patients.

Risperdal now carries a black box warning that it could be deadly for elderly dementia patients. However, it does not state that it may also carry a high risk for other patient categories of developing an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to cardiac arrest. In particular, Risperdal had the highest risk among the atypical antipsychotics is causing cardiac arrest and arrhythmia, which increased with lower doses. This is a definite oversight on the part of the drug manufacturer that Risperdal side effects attorneys can use to the benefit of an injured patient.

It is no joke dealing with behavioral and mental problems. However, it would be facetious to say that the benefits outweigh the risks when what you are risking is your life. If an immediate family member died from a Risperdal-induced cardiac problem, you have the right to hold the drug company responsible for not giving adequate warning. Consult with Risperdal side effects attorneys in your area to help you get going.

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Deadly Side Effects Possible with Actos

Many believed that Actos would be a safer bet than Avandia. Both drugs are used in order to treat those with Type-2 diabetes, which is the most commonly diagnosed type of diabetes in Americans. This health condition can be common to people over 45 years old, are overweight, have family members who have had this same illness, or otherwise stated – but it can happen to just about anyone and at any time. There has even been some recent evidence that more and more children are getting diagnosed with this condition, which is also referred to as ‘non-insulin dependent diabetes’. Of course, anyone would want the safer option – but what if it isn’t all that it promises to be?

New studies, as gathered by defective pharmaceutical lawyers of Williams Kherkher, have claimed that intake of Actos can cause bladder cancer. Anyone who might hear the ‘C’ word in their diagnosis will be understandably rattled for this is one of the most life threatening illnesses currently known to mankind. It is a treacherous, insidious disease that can cause so much pain to any family as well as adding financial strains.

The primary function of any drug is to alleviate the victim of any pain – not add to it. Causing more illness as a side effect is an unforgivable case of severe negligence and warrants compensation. Yes, there is no amount of money that can ever make such a circumstance, in any way, all right. However, for any chance at life and normalcy, medical procedures for treatment are necessary – and this demands financial compensation from the guilty party, this being the manufacturer of the drug in question.

This kind of situation can be stressful for anyone involved for legal proceedings are hardly ever straightforward as they are often arduous tasks, when you have earned nothing but peace and justice. Specialized professionals in this branch of law could ensure that you get exactly that and more.

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Excessive Bleeding – the Common Severe Effect of Anticoagulant Drugs

Blood clots are necessary to prevent excessive blood loss whenever blood vessels get damaged or cut. Solidifying or coagulating the blood around the area of a damaged vessel is made possible by platelets, one of the major components of our blood. However, if a clot forms inside a blood vessel, this can either block the blood from flowing to the different parts of the body or get stuck in an artery and, there, directly stop the supply of blood to a vital organ, such as the brain or the lung, and cause severe organ damage, or a heart attack or stroke which can be fatal.

To prevent blood clots from forming doctors prescribe anticoagulant drugs, which will thin the blood. Anticoagulants or blood thinners are usually prescribed for those suffering from a condition called atrial fibrillation (or irregular heartbeat), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, or those who have just had an artificial heart valve or orthopedic surgery.

For the past 60 years, since 1954, Warfarin had been the standard blood thinning drug recommended by doctors to patients. Warfarin, however, requires a strict diet, exercise and a regular blood test, called prothrombin time test (PT), which would measure its user’s international normalized ratio (INR) to see how fast the blood clots.

In July 2011 the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA approved the use of the anticoagulant drug Xarelto for the same purposes mentioned above as well as to minimize the formation (and the recurrence) of blood clots and the risk of stroke in patients after a knee or hip replacement surgery.

Bayer Health Care and Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), the producers of Xarelto, actually intended the drug as an alternative to Warfarin and to compete against Pradaxa, which was approved by the FDA in 2010. Because Xarelto provided more benefits than Pradaxa and did not require any of the conditions of Warfarin, it immediately gained the approval of doctors (in the US and in many other countries).

Anticoagulant drugs, though, had one common severe side-effect – excessive bleeding, an on this, Xarelto was no exception. In fact, the bleeding that Xarelto caused was proven even more serious than Pradaxa and, worse, its manufacturers offered no antidote against it.

Despite the 2081 serious adverse events (151 of which were fatal) reported to the FDA in 2012 and the increasing number of lawsuits filed by victims, who have suffered uncontrolled bleeding, Xarelto remains to be the current number one anti-coagulant drug in the US. Many doctors still prescribe this blood thinner to unknowing patients, who suddenly get faced with a severe or fatal health condition.

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Dangers in Modern Medical Technology

It is really amazing how far medical technology has come. A century and a half ago, physicians were barely scratching the surface on the concept of antiseptics and anesthesia, and now robots are assisting in surgery!

But in any type of progress, there are always checks. In the case of robotic-assisted surgery, the hitch was two-fold: physician training and design defects. Because it was such a cool thing, hospitals jumped on the bandwagon and forked over the money to have the robots doing surgery in their own operating rooms as a selling point.

But their surgeons needed to be trained on its use, and the learning curve is so steep that it would have taken considerable investment in time and supervision. The manufacturer failed to provide the necessary training with disastrous results for many patients. As an article on the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP in Massachusetts points out, while the technology may have benefits, the fact that surgeons had a hard time using it was definitely a drawback. The design defect was also something the manufacturer could have prevented. A problem with one of the robotic arm components caused serious burns during the operation. This is the main reason Intuitive Surgical is facing civil litigation for its Da Vinci Surgical System.

In the case of AlloDerm defects, the problem was more in application rather than design. AlloDerm is a biological material processed from donated tissue to replace the more traditional skin grafts for burn victims. It was originally designed to help burn patients heal faster by encouraging the regeneration of tissue. It worked perfectly well, and has been successfully tapped for use in reconstructive surgery.  But the snag happened when manufacturer LifeCell marketed it for use in hernia repair without performing clinical trials first. Both Intuitive and LifeCell are now paying the price for the breach in their duty of care.

Both the Da Vinci surgical system and AlloDerm are good examples of the medical dangers of shortcuts in modern technology. If you have suffered serious injury because of the negligence of a pharmaceutical company, contact a product liability attorney to find out how you can get compensation.

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