Articles Posted in Health & Wellness

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Taxotere and Permanent Hair Loss
Hair loss, or alopecia, is a common condition for many people, especially when they age. The exact reason for the hair loss can vary, but one particularly unpleasant cause is chemotherapy. However, not all patients will be affected the same way during chemotherapy, even when taking the same chemotherapy drug to fight the same type of cancer.

For example, some patients may only experience a slight change in hair color, while others will have thinning hair. Others may have hair loss, although the amount and areas of hair loss can differ among patients. For some unlucky patients, the hair loss is permanent. One such chemotherapy drug that causes permanent hair loss is Taxotere.

What Is Taxotere?

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Arthritis Drug Actemra Many things in life involve a cost benefit analysis. We’re constantly taking risks that can cause harm, but choose to take on that risk because the benefits outweigh the dangers. A good example of this is driving a car. There is a risk of getting into an accident, but the benefit of having on-demand personal transportation is easily worth it.

Prescription medications are no different. Each one is intended to provide a benefit, although each will always have at least some side effects or adverse reactions. The question is never, “does the drug have a side effect or adverse reaction?” Rather, it’s “how many side effects and adverse reactions are there and how bad are they?”

It’s no surprise to learn that many medications on the market today have numerous side effects and adverse reactions, some of them deadly. Yet, they’re available for use not only because the benefits may outweigh the risks for a significant number of consumers, but also because the makers of the medication are required to inform consumers of these risks. So a pharmaceutical company that fails to properly warn consumers of the risks of its drugs can get into trouble. That’s exactly the issue with Actemra. Continue reading →

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Textured breast implants and lymphoma
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons almost 280,000 breast augmentation procedures took place in the United States in 2015. Given the popularity of breast implants, a wide range of breast implant products have been released in the United States and the rest of the world. One such product is the textured breast implant.

Why Are Breast Implants Textured?

The purpose of adding texturing to the breast implant surface is to help the body keep the implant in place and avoid it from shifting. Another reason is to prevent a complication called capsular contracture, which occurs when the scar tissue that forms around the implant become painful and hard.

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Zimmer Biomet Reverse Shoulder Product Recall

Shoulder replacement surgeries are common and provide relief to thousands. But some conventional shoulder replacement surgeries don’t work, requiring a different type of shoulder replacement surgery.

In a typical shoulder replacement, artificial components replace natural ones, such that an artificial cup is placed into the shoulder while an artificial ball is placed at the top of the humerus, or arm bone. For individuals with rotator cuff tears and arthropathy, which is a complex type of shoulder arthritis, this type of shoulder replacement surgery doesn’t work.

Instead, patients must obtain a reverse shoulder replacement, which places the ball in the shoulder and the cup at the top of the humerus. One such reverse shoulder replacement medical device is Zimmer Biomet’s Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder System. However, this product has recently been recalled by Zimmer Biomet.

The Reverse Shoulder Recall

Zimmer Biomet Reverse Shoulder RecallOn December 15, 2016, Zimmer Biomet recalled its Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder System, noting that it was fracturing far more often than expected and could lead to serious problems, such as infection, inability to use the shoulder and even death. Fracturing is an unusual problem, since most shoulder replacement complications do not involve fracturing, but instead deal with excessive wear, dislocating and loosening of joint components.

Due to the severity of the problem with the Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder System, the U.S. Food Drug and Administration (FDA) classified this recall as a Class I recall, which is the most serious type of recall available.

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Female contraception is common these days, with many medications, medical devices and methods available. One popular birth control method is the intrauterine device, or IUD.

There are many companies making different types of IUDs that work in different ways. Some use copper as the primary means of contraception while others use hormones. One of the most popular hormonal IUDs available goes by the brand name Mirena.

How Does the Mirena IUD Work?

Mirena is a hormonal IUD that is inserted into a woman’s uterus. Once inserted, the IUD continuously releases a small amount of the hormone levonorgesterel. The Mirena IUD is extremely effective and works primarily by preventing fertilization from occurring, rather than preventing implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus.

Another advantage of the Mirena IUD is that it works for a long period of time (three to five years) without any intervention by the woman. And when the effective time period of Mirena passes or the woman decides she wants to try to get pregnant, the Mirena IUD can be removed and fertility restored. Because of these advantages, many women have chosen Mirena as their preferred form of birth control.

What’s Wrong with the Mirena IUD?

Woman with Mirena IUD Suffering from Intracranial HypertensionDespite its effectiveness as a contraceptive and its popularity, the Mirena IUD has caused some women to suffer from a variety of serious conditions, including the dangerous buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This fluid buildup then causes an increase in intracranial pressure and can lead to severe headaches, ringing in the ears, nausea, blurred vision, neck pain, and blindness due to the swelling of the optic nerve.

Many women experience progressively worsening vision as the optic nerve swelling increases. Most of these symptoms are similar to those people suffering from a brain tumor. There are several names to describe this condition, including Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) and Intracranial Hypertension (IH).

Depending on the woman, the effects of PTC or IH can sometimes be reversed, but it often results in permanent damage to a woman’s vision. Even if the effects can be reversed, it usually takes years of maintaining normal intracranial pressure in the brain. As a result of these problems, many lawsuits against Bayer, the maker of Mirena, have recently emerged.

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Prescription MedicationsI have to say, there are times I just don’t want to hear any more alarming news. But recently I stumbled upon a disturbing database of payments made by drug and medical device manufacturers to physicians. It can be horrifying to imagine that your doctor or surgeon is getting huge amounts of money from drug companies or device makers, for any reason.  Now imagine that the payments were hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions. It just doesn’t pass the smell test. Think about it: if a surgeon gets $250,000.00 per year from a medical device manufacturer, do you think the surgeon is likely going to “choose” to implant devices made by the fee-paying medical device manufacturer?

ProPublica is the nonprofit organization who maintains the database. Recently nonprofit organization updated its database of doctors across the country who were paid by medical device manufacturers or drug makers in 2015. ProPublica also compiled statistics on the amount of money drug companies spent promoting certain prescription medications and medical devices. The numbers are staggering. Let’s take a look at a few of the prescription medications on ProPublica’s list that I’ve written about on this site:

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A new study published in December 2016 has shed more light on the potential dangers of taking direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) drugs, and in particular, the drug Xarelto (rivaroxaban).

First a Little Background on Xarelto

New Xarelto StudyXarelto was first approved by the FDA for sale in July 2011. It was supposed to represent a major advancement in blood thinning (anticoagulant) medication. Xarelto was developed to prevent serious conditions that sometimes arise after surgeries (such as artificial hip and knee surgeries). As an anticoagulant, it was intended to prevent pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and strokes. Xarelto was also intended to help those patients with atrial fibrillation, a group of people more vulnerable to PE, DVT, and stroke after surgery. Eventually, the FDA expanded approval of Xarelto to treat all patients with PE, DVT and atrial fibrillation.

In studies, however, Xarelto appeared to cause a higher rate of internal bleeding. And while other anticoagulant drugs may also cause internal bleeding, it appears there is no available “antidote” for stopping internal bleeding in patients taking Xarelto. With warfarin, vitamin K has been shown to stop bleeding. But there is no vitamin K “parallel” for people taking Xarelto. For Xarelto, it can take 24 hours for a dose to get out of the body. That means that if internal bleeding starts, the patient may simply have it wait it out and hope it stops on its own.

Now a new study indicates that Xarelto causes more internal bleeding than other leading anticoagulant drugs.

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Smoking Can Harm Product Liability CaseFirst, let me make the case for smoking:

You enjoy it. It tastes good (I guess). It makes you alert (I hear); but also, oddly, it can calm you as well (from what I’ve read). You also look cool doing it (I confess; this last part is often true). And it’s legal. But perhaps the strongest argument I hear from smokers is this: no one is going to tell me I can’t smoke. This is a free country after all.

That’s about it, really. That’s all I’ve got. And I’m not here to nag you. By all means, smoke if you must. But let me present a different perspective: setting aside the many health problems smoking causes, it can also destroy or damage your product liability or personal injury case.

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I will publish a new book this week: Product Liability Law: Litigation, Settlement, and Wellness.

Product Liability Law CoverThe book offers concise chapters on issues you need to be aware of when you first discover that a medical device may have failed in your body, or when a prescription medication is beginning to cause dreadful side effects. Beyond that, I discuss issues that arise when you are involved in product liability litigation, as well as concerns about money: before a product liability lawsuit is filed, during product litigation, and after a product lawsuit is resolved.

If you would like a free copy of Product Liability Law, I ask that you subscribe to the website. It takes twenty seconds to sign up. You will receive a copy of Product Liability Law, and you will receive emails only when I post new articles to the site. Two emails a week, tops.

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Viagra May Cause CancerAs if erectile dysfunction were not harrowing enough. In March 2016 a published study concluded that the use of the drug sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) “could promote melanoma in humans.”

As you probably know, melanoma is the most aggressive and most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma develops when damage to skin cells (usually caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Most people think of melanoma as dark, asymmetrical moles, and in fact melanoma can develop from existing moles, but melanoma can also form directly on the skin. Melanoma is often caused by intense, sustained exposure to ultraviolet light, the kind which causes suntans and sunburns. Melanoma has been estimated to cause over 10,000 deaths in the United States each year.

The Latest Study