As a defective prescription drug attorney, I know blood thinners can be life-saving for people who have heart problems — but they can also be dangerous when overdosed or misused. So I was disappointed to see that the FDA has recalled 1.85 million tablets of the drug Coumadin (warfarin) because of a manufacturing defect that made the drug too potent. According to a WebMD article, the recall affects one lot of 5-milligram tablets of Coumadin manufactured by Bristol-Meyers Squibb. The recall does not affect warfarin sold as a generic or under other brand names produced by other manufacturers. As of May 3, fortunately, no injuries to patients had been reported to the FDA.
Coumadin is used in people who have heart problems or circulatory problems that raise their risk of stroke or embolism. It prevents the blood from clotting as effectively as it naturally would. However, the amount necessary in each patient needs to be balanced carefully, not only for each person’s metabolism and genes, but because it interacts with a variety of common medications, foods, herbs and alcohol. As a result, pills with too much of the active ingredient could cause harmful side effects like excessive bleeding, coughing up blood, blood in the urine and bruising. Patients also run the risk of unknowingly decreasing the Coumadin’s effectiveness by using other drugs or foods.
I’m happy to read that no one has yet reported being harmed by the recalled pills. But as a dangerous prescription drug lawyer, I wonder whether a drug that can be thrown off balance so easily is a safe one. Patients taking Coumadin for the first time must go for weekly blood tests to establish which dosage is safe for them, because genetic and lifestyle factors make it dangerous to prescribe on the basis of body weight alone. Among the common foods and flavorings that interact with Coumadin are garlic, spinach, grapefruit, ginger and possibly cranberries. In fact, warfarin is so effective that it was originally discovered when cattle eating plants with the active ingredient began bleeding to death. That’s why it’s vital to make sure Coumadin supplies are manufactured exactly to specifications — and recalled promptly when there are problems.
If you or someone in your family suffered an injury or illness because of a defective medication, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe for help. From offices in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., we represent people around the United States who are taking legal action hold drug companies responsible for selling defective, tainted or otherwise unsafe drugs. Patients should be able to trust that pharmaceutical products are safe to use as directed and effective at treating their problems. When drug companies don’t live up to that, especially when they know or should know about a serious safety problem, victims can sue them to collect fair compensation. Our pharmaceutical liability attorneys help clients collect medical costs, lost income, compensation for health problems and more.
Carey, Danis & Lowe offers free, confidential case evaluations to all potential clients. To speak to us about your case and your options, or to learn more about our experience, call us today at 1-877-678-3400 or send us a message through our website.