Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can provide relief for your allergies, upset stomach, headache, or other ailments. There is no need for a doctor visit nor is it necessary to present a prescription. This quick access to medication is not without risks and potential dangers, however. If you suspect that an OTC medication resulted in serious harm for you, a defective medication lawyer can possibly help you. Reviewing your case for negligence on behalf of the drug company or manufacturer can help a lawyer determine if you are eligible for civil action.
OTC Medications versus Prescriptions
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines whether a drug requires a prescription or if it is an OTC medication. According to FDA data, more than 700 products sold over-the-counter today use ingredients and allow doses only available by prescription 30 years ago.
- When to not use it.
- When to stop taking it.
- When to see a doctor.
- Possible side effects.
Other label instructions include the directions, active ingredients, and the purpose of the drug. Reading the labels of OTC medications can help prevent you from taking something that may interact with your prescription medications. When in doubt, ask your doctor or the pharmacist if the OTC medication you need is a danger to the medication for your underlying health condition.
OTC medications have tamper-evident packaging (TEP) to protect against criminal tampering of products. You should never take an OTC if the package has damage, the safety seal appears broken, or the medication appears discolored. Report any signs of tampering to the store or pharmacy of purchase.
The Misuse of OTC Medications
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people misuse OTC medications for a variety of reasons:
- To experience the effect of the drug.
- Mixing OTC medications to create a new drug.
- Taking an OTC medication in a way other than the recommended use.
One of the most commonly used OTC medications is pseudoephedrine. This popular cold medicine is now kept behind-the-counter due to its use to make the dangerous drug methamphetamine. To regulate the sale of pseudoephedrine, many states require:
- A prescription.
- Photo identification.
- A limit on the amount one person may purchase.
- Required age of 18 or older to purchase.
Two other commonly abused OTC medications are dextromethorphan (DXM) and loperamide. DXM is a cough suppressant and loperamide is an anti-diarrhea medicine. DXM is either used alone or combined with other drugs. Users sometimes inject DXM in an effort to experience the effects of the drug faster. When using loperamide, users often use large doses. Both drugs can lead to addiction and possible overdoses.
A serious drug reaction may occur if you combine certain medications. Prescription medication, for example, can interact dangerously with OTC medications. When medications conflict within your system, doctors refer to it as a drug-drug interaction. This can occur when you combine a prescription drug with an OTC medication with both having a similar active ingredient. The over-medication that results can create new medical problems. For example, a prescription anti-inflammatory drug and an OTC ibuprofen fight your condition using similar tactics.
An opposition reaction occurs when two medicines have the opposite effect on your body. A prescription drug designed to lower your blood pressure may interact with an OTC medication that results in higher blood pressure.
Medication can also affect the way your body processes or absorbs it, resulting in a failure to obtain the full effect of the drug. Another type of dangerous reaction is one involving food. Some medications require an empty stomach while others require that you take them with food.
Allergic reactions to combined OTC medications and prescription medications are not uncommon. Discussing your medications with your doctor is important for understanding what OTC medications are safe for your condition.
The Dangers of Uncoordinated Care and Your Medication
Prescription medication and its possible interactions with OTC medicines are made even more confusing with multiple health care providers. Uncoordinated care can result in one doctor approving an OTC medicine without knowing your full list of medications.
Receiving the right medications—both prescribed and OTC—while in the hospital is not only possible but downright dangerous. Studies show that more than 60 percent of hospital patients miss their regular medication during their hospital stay.
Doctors and pharmacists work long hours. During a 12-hour shift, a pharmacist typically fills between 300-450 prescriptions. Overworked and tired, it is easy for a pharmacist to make a mistake. Combining the mistake with the wrong OTC medication advice can have devastating results for your health.
If you experienced a serious drug interaction due to a prescription mistake or due to the wrong OTC medication recommendation, take action. Pharmacists and doctors have a responsibility to protect their patients from harm. No one should experience serious side effects or decline in health due to a stressed and overworked medical professional.
A personal injury lawyer can review your case for free. Determining how the error occurred and who is liable is how a lawyer can help you. Personal injury lawyers enter this particular field of law to protect the rights of innocent victims. When a medical professional violates your trust, resulting in a serious drug interaction that delays your recovery or results in new health problems, it isn’t fair.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You
When you experience a serious medical reaction, you may require extensive medical care. This can lead to time away from work or the loss of your career. If a doctor prescribed the wrong medication, resulting in addiction when combined with certain OTC medications, a lawyer may be able to help you.
Doctors and pharmacists are human; however, they must take extra precautions when dealing with human lives. No one should suffer unnecessarily due to the careless actions of a negligent medical provider.
When a medical mistake occurs, it is a matter most hospitals or pharmacies want to silence quickly. The fear of negative publicity often leads insurance companies to make settlement offers to victims soon after the incident. The amount of money they offer you may seem like a large sum when, in fact, it is most likely a low dollar amount compared to your actual injuries and long-term expenses.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that want to protect their company’s bottom line. An initial settlement offer is their way of resolving the case with as little financial damage as possible. Never try to negotiate a possible settlement with an insurance company on your own. The representatives who handle civil claims are simply too skilled at what they do to take on alone.
Do not sign or accept any offer from any insurance company. The result of your OTC medication reaction is enough to deal with without the high-pressure tactics of insurance company representatives. While accepting their offer may tempt you, it is important that you first seek counsel and consider how to properly pursue the type of compensation you deserve.
Most personal injury lawyers understand the games insurance companies play. From large medical facilities to pharmaceutical companies, the desire to put profits over people is all too common. Personal injury lawyers take a stand against the negligent practices that these companies and corporations use to make money. Your life is too important to let the liable parties go without accountability for their actions.
Why Time is of the Essence
When you experience a serious drug interaction, the last thing you may feel like doing is contacting a lawyer. To pursue a civil claim, you must act quickly. Once you learn that your drug interaction or addiction is the result of the careless actions of a doctor, pharmacist, or pharmaceutical company, contacting a personal injury lawyer is a priority.
The law limits the amount of time you have for filing a personal injury claim. It may seem like a long time, but it can pass in the blink of an eye as you deal with new doctor appointments and mounting bills. Once the time passes for filing your claim, your chance for possible compensation disappears.
Following the instructions outlined on the OTC medication can result in serious consequences if the label contains errors. It can also result in serious consequences if you combine the medication with a prescription that is a mistake.
Some drugs are so powerful that mistakenly taking the wrong OTC medication with them can result in death. This is especially concerning for children or the elderly, two vulnerable segments of our nation’s population. Depending on your relationship with the decedent, you may be entitled to filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death action typically involves two types of damages: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are those that are easy for a court to determine because they are cut-and-dried financial expenses. For example, medical bills outline the expenses a patient accumulated for their care. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, cover such damages such as pain and suffering—something more difficult to determine in price.
Securing legal representation is imperative during this trying time. A personal injury lawyer has both the negotiation skills and the trial experience you need to fight the liable parties. Personal injury lawyers are aggressive and firm when taking on big businesses. When it comes to their clients, they are respectful and compassionate. Knowing you have someone protecting your best interests can provide you with the peace-of-mind you need to focus on your health.
People Over Profits
A personal injury lawyer can flip the corporate profits-over-people mentality to one of the people-over-profits by representing clients like you. If you suffered a serious medical reaction or developed an addiction due to negligence, you are not alone. A personal injury lawyer can review your case for free and most work on a contingency-fee-basis. This means there is no fee unless they win your case.
The purpose of OTC medications is to alleviate symptoms and to provide relief from pain, allergies, headaches, or other ailments. The goal of prescription medications is to alleviate or to treat serious health conditions in a controlled manner. When the two collide, the results can often devastate patients and their families.
Your medication experience may leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. If you have evidence that your medication was a mistake or you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, a personal injury lawyer can help you.
No one visits the doctor or local pharmacy expecting to acquire new—and unnecessary—medical problems. The road to possible compensation is often long and each case is different. By contacting a personal injury lawyer today, you can better understand your options for moving forward.
If you experienced serious effects of a dangerous OTC medication or you lost a close loved one, discussing your case with an attorney is a smart idea. Do not discuss your case with your doctor or pharmacists, and do not speak with insurance company representatives.
Most personal injury cases are settled out-of-court. The right attorney won’t stop until they secure the best possible outcome for your case. They are ready and willing to go to trial if necessary.
Your health is more important than the profits of large pharmaceutical companies. By pursuing legal action, you may just prevent the same medical mistake or negligence from happening to another person.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765