There are many drugs that doctors can prescribe for a disease. Patients depend on their doctors to make sure the correct medication is prescribed and in the correct amount. However, mistakes are still made by doctors and fatal side effects can result from such errors.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned patients and physicians of the dangers of one drug currently on the market. A popular antibiotic called Zithromax has been found to potentially cause possibility fatal irregular heart rhythms in some patients if the drug is incorrectly prescribed. This drug is popular because it allows patients to take fewer doses over a shorter period of time compared to other antibiotics on the market.
The FDA’s warning is the result of a study by medical researchers and a company study that assessed the potential that the drug could cause abnormal changes in the heart’s electrical activity. In a study in the New England Journal of Medicine last year found that patients who took Zithromax had higher rates of fatal heart rhythms when it was compared to other antibiotics. The FDA’s warning stated that the potentially fatal heart rhythm resulted due to the possibility that the drug could alter the electrical activity of the heart. The heart rhythm that may be caused by this drug is called a prolonged QT interval which is when the timing of the contractions of the heart becomes irregular.
It has been suggested by the FDA that doctors be cautious when prescribing the antibiotic to patients who have the condition or have certain risk factors such as low potassium or magnesium levels, a slower heart rate than what is normal, or people who are taking drugs that threat abnormal heart rhythms. Prior to prescribing this drug doctors need to be aware of the patient’s condition to be sure they do not fall into any of these risk groups.
Medication errors not only prevent patients from getting better but can also put their health at risk. Patients who are victims of medication errors may be eligible for compensation if the doctor, hospital, or pharmaceutical company is found to be negligent. Such compensation can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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