The Most Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs
Prescriptions serve an important role for many Americans. They help control blood pressure, reduce depression, fight cancer, and keep people feeling healthy. However, some on the market today are downright dangerous. According to a compilation of data from the CDC, 2.6 billion different drugs were ordered or given to patients during 2010. 75% of all office visits involved some kind of prescription interchange, and analgesics, antihyperlipidemics, and antidepressants were the most commonly approved medications. That’s an incredible number of pharmaceutical drugs running through the system in a single year.
Many medications are considered highly dangerous. These drugs are classified alongside illegal drugs, and if you don’t have a valid prescription, possessing them could lead to felony charges. Prescriptions do help people in many ways, but they also present serious risks. Whether a doctor recommends the wrong dosage or doesn’t help a patient stop using an addictive prescription, a health care provider may be liable for prescriptions that cause injuries or deaths. Here are some of the most dangerous pharmaceutical drugs:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, Lorcet). Hydrocodone is often prescribed as a pain reliever after a surgery or to patients with certain medical conditions. It’s a schedule II controlled substance and is considered an analgesic. When used over time, the effects of the drugs may lessen. It’s highly addictive, and patients taking the drug should only take it for limited periods of time and wean themselves off of it as soon as possible.
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percolone, Percocet). Another analgesic drug, oxycodone is a schedule II narcotic that patients should only take for limited periods of time. It’s highly addictive, and the same dose may not have the same effect on a patient over time.
- Oxymorphone (Opana, Numorphan), This schedule II narcotic pain reliever works similarly to hydrocodone and oxycodone. Patients may need to wean themselves off of this drug and should never plan to take it for extended periods of time.
- Methadone. Methadone is sometimes used to treat drug addictions and is considered a schedule II narcotic. When not used to treat addictions, the pain reliever itself can become addictive.
Between 1999 and 2010, 48,000 women succumbed to prescription overdoses. Some purposefully overdose on pain pills, while others simply become so addicted to the medication that they take too many at once without realizing it. Men may become addicted to prescription painkillers, but they don’t face as much of a risk as women.
To reduce the likelihood of becoming addicted to painkillers:
- Use the buddy system. If you can, put someone else in control of your medicine. If you’ve been in a bad accident, had surgery, or are going through a painful illness, let someone else help you. Have another person keep a medicine log, and only take as many pills as the doctor recommends.
- Always keep a schedule. Some overdoses occur because patients forget when they took medicine or how much they took. Write down every time you take a pill, the time, and the dosage.
- Ask for help. Addiction to prescription drugs isn’t a sign of weakness. Opioids physically alter brain chemistry. You may need help to stop taking the prescription.
- Read the fine print. Painkillers can make you feel good, but they also often have side effects. Read about medications before agreeing to take them, and ask your doctor for an alternative medicine if you’re concerned about side effects, addiction, or misuse.
If a doctor makes a mistake when prescribing pharmaceutical drugs and a patient is injured or dies, the victim or a family member may hold that health professional accountable. A medical provider should never prescribe potentially dangerous medications lightly. If you have questions regarding prescriptions and the law, contact Sweeney Merrigan Law LLP.