The Senators Firm has decades of experience litigating high stakes pharmaceutical products liability litigation all over the country. If you suspect that you or a loved one has developed liver failure or damage from a drug, contact us for a free comprehensive evaluation.
Liver Damage Caused by Unsafe Medications
The liver is one of the most essential organs of the human body. With more than 500 functions, the liver is known as the laboratory of body and is responsible for the detoxification, filtration and processing of all ingested foods and nutrients. The liver is also the primary organ responsible for processing medications into forms that can be utilized and eliminated by the body. As such, numerous over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications can result in serious effects to the liver. While the severity of a drug’s effects on the liver can vary considerably, reactions can be incredibly severe and potentially fatal.
Acute liver failure, or fulminant hepatitis, is a serious medical condition that can result from the use of harmful medications. Patients who experience liver failure can become extremely ill and may experience substantial pain and suffering. Additional complications are also common, including confusion, coma, bleeding and others. Nearly 80% of patients with acute liver failure die within days to weeks.
Causes of Drug-Induced Liver Failure
Because the liver is the organ where most substances introduced into the body are metabolized, when you ingest a prescription or over-the-counter medication, it is likely that the medication will initially accumulate in the liver in high concentrations. Normally, the liver is able to break down drugs so they can be used by the body to fight illnesses. However, some drugs may cause damage to liver cells. This so-called “hepatotoxicity” may be due to a direct toxic effect of the drug on liver cells, or may cause “idiosyncratic” (unpredictable) liver damage in some individuals.
Drug manufacturers have a duty to adequately test their products to determine if they can cause liver toxicity, and to warn health care professionals and consumers about the risk of toxicity. Failure to do so may expose manufactures to lawsuits for damages suffered by the victims of liver toxicity.
How big is the Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Liver Injury Problem?
When people think about liver damage, they are likely to think about alcohol abuse, cancer and diseases such as hepatitis as the main causes. However, a special FDA task force on the causes of liver injury has determined that “drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is now the leading cause of acute liver failure (ALF), exceeding all other causes combined.” Drug toxicity is the cause of 25% of hospitalizations for jaundice and accounts for 10% of cases of acute hepatitis. One very common drug, acetaminophen (the ingredient in Tylenol™, is thought to cause over 40% of all acute liver failure cases in the United States each year.
The list of drugs that are associated with liver toxicity is growing each year, as new products are put on the market and as more people use older drugs. Over 1000 drugs are currently suspected as liver toxins, including such common drugs as acetaminophen (Tylenol), steroids and hormones, many antibiotics, antidepressants, Motrin, anti-seizure drugs, cholesterol medications, and many others.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Liver Injury Lawyers and Lawsuits
A prescription drug manufacturer may be held liable for damages caused by liver toxicity where it can be shown that the manufacturer knew or had reason to suspect that its drug could cause liver damage and failed to adequately warn your doctor. Also, the makers of drug products sold over-the-counter without a prescription must warn consumers directly of all product risks, including liver damage.
Many drugs have been recalled or withdrawn from the market by the FDA because of reports of liver damage. When an FDA recall occurs, litigation may follow if there is evidence that a manufacturer should have taken steps to recall the product sooner. This type of products liability litigation is a very specialized and complicated area of the law. When selecting a lawyer to represent you in a case involving drug-related liver injuries, it is critical that you hire an attorney with experience litigating these complex cases.
Contact A California Drug-Induced Liver Failure Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has suffered serious liver damage or acute liver failure as the result of taking over-the-counter drugs or prescription medications, scheduling a free case evaluation with a California defective drug lawyer from our firm can be your first step in recovering the compensation you deserve. Attorneys Ron Labriola and Tom Moore possess decades of experience in litigating complex liability cases and are prepared to fight on your behalf. Contact our firm to discuss your case.