At drug company-sponsored seminars, Illinois doctors are speaking about dozens of commonly prescribed medications that help millions of patients. But questions have been raised about some of the drugs:
•Atypical antipsychotics such as Zyprexa ( Eli Lilly and Co.), Seroquel ( AstraZeneca), and Geodon (Pfizer Inc.) have been featured in government investigations of allegedly fraudulent off-label marketing. These medications have been linked with higher death rates in the elderly, yet prescriptions for seniors have soared. This class of drugs has also been implicated in inappropriate prescriptions for children and in excess weight gain and diabetes.
Byetta (Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals), the first in a new class of diabetes drugs, has been associated with dozens of cases of acute pancreatitis and multiple cases of kidney failure. The FDA and its European equivalent have issued warnings highlighting potential side effects.
The FDA last year required a black-box warning for the smoking cessation drug Chantix (Pfizer) after reports that some patients taking the medication became depressed, hostile or suicidal.
Forteo (Lilly), a medication approved for osteoporosis in post- menopausal women, has been shown to cause malignant bone tumors in rats at high doses. The FDA has issued a black-box warning advising restricted use of the drug.
Patients taking Crestor (AstraZeneca), a cholesterol-lowering drug, have much higher rates of kidney damage and severe muscle damage than those taking other types of statins.
•Several studies have raised red flags about serious allergic reactions and skin conditions associated with Januvia ( Merck & Co. Inc.), a diabetes drug. The FDA has required that these side effects be highlighted on the drug's label.
— Judith GrahamCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun