When Doctors Fail To Warn Patients About Dangerous Drug Side Effects

There is new evidence that indicates a failure by physicians and pharmacists to properly warn patients about the side effects of certain medicines are putting those patients at grave risk.

We’ve all taken prescription medicine that may cause drowsiness.  A recent study reveals, however, that a significant portion of patients prescribed such medicines may have been unaware of this potentially harmful consequence.  The major focus was driving under the influence of drugs that can cause drowsiness.

The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, included 7,400 drivers across the United States.  The drivers were asked about their use of prescription drugs.  They were also asked if they received warnings about the drugs’ side effects.

Of the drivers surveyed, 20 percent reported that they had used a prescription drug within the last two days that, according to the researchers, could possibly impair the patients.  An alarming number said they did not receive any information alerting them to this danger.

Patients Not Warned About Drugs and Drowsy Driving

There were several types of prescription medicines used by the drivers that could cause drowsiness:

·         14 percent on prescribed sedatives said they received no warnings about the medicine

·         15 percent on prescribed narcotics said they received no warnings

·         42 percent on prescribed stimulants received no warnings

·         37 percent on prescribed antidepressant drugs received no warnings

This means a good number of drivers on the road may be drowsy due to medications; unknowingly so if healthcare providers do not adequately warn them.

The threats of drowsy drivers are easy to imagine, but the federal government recently documented them.  According to an October 2017 Department of Transportation report, 4,121 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving drowsy drivers from 2011 through 2015.

Poor Communication Can Lead to Serious Medication Errors

Medication errors represent a sizable portion of preventable medical mistakes that harm patients every day.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the federal organization charged with improving healthcare safety in the United States, reports that poor communication – including between healthcare providers and patients – is a major cause of serious drug errors in this country.

In a news report discussing the research, the lead researcher notes that this is the first study of its kind and hopes that the findings lead to better medicine warnings by physicians, pharmacists and drug makers.

Properly alerting patients of dangerous drug side effects is a standard level of medical care healthcare professionals are expected to deliver every time.  When they fall short of this acceptable standard, patients and other innocent victims can be severely harmed.

If you were seriously injured or had a loved one die from a suspected medical care mistake, speak with a medical malpractice lawyer, who can advocate for your legal rights.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles November 29, 2017