Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Georgia: Avandia and the Heart: A Reminder That Drugs Can Harm (HP)

From the HuffPo:

Diabetes is particularly detrimental to the heart, and heart problems are the eventual cause of death for most patients with diabetes. Given this, it is extremely worrisome that Avandia, a drug marketed to treat diabetes, has been found to harm the heart.

The recognition that drugs can cause harm is nothing new. A recent example is the painkiller Vioxx which was found to harm the heart and taken off the market in 2004.

While many extremely toxic drugs are eventually taken off the market, several drugs that are quite harmful remain available, albeit with a warning from the FDA. An example is acetaminophen, the active ingredient in some over-the-counter painkillers (such as Tylenol) and many cold medications, which can cause severe liver damage.

If every drug has the potential to cause harm, how can an average person protect himself or herself from the adverse effects of drugs that are approved by the FDA?

The answer is education.