Modern pharmaceutical products can provide real relief for patients suffering from a wide array of ailments. Over-the-counter medications are usually safe and effective when used as directed. In some cases, however, patients may experience unexpected side effects or may not be made aware of the potential risks involved in using these drug products. Individuals and families who have suffered injuries or losses due to the use of non-prescription and prescription medications can often receive compensation for their damages by working with a qualified drug lawsuit attorney. These legal professionals understand the intricacies of the pharmaceutical industry and can ensure a fair settlement for those injured through drug company negligence or oversight. Accidental Overdoses Can Result in Permanent Damage For most people, taking over-the-counter remedies for minor ailments is a quick and convenient way to stave off symptoms for a few hours. Antihistamines, pain relievers and medicines designed to combat motion sickness are often used to fight mild flu symptoms, for example. However, combining two or more different medications that may contain the same main ingredient can cause an accidental overdose that can cause serious and lasting damage to internal organs. The most common culprits in over-the-counter overdose cases include the following:
- Aspirin products can cause bleeding of the stomach walls and can reduce the ability of blood to clot when used to excess. Some of the most common symptoms of aspirin poisoning include hearing problems, ringing in the ears, vomiting, visual disturbances and fever. Dehydration, convulsions, coma and hyperventilation are possible if aspirin overdoses are not treated promptly by a medical professional.
- Because acetaminophen is included in so many different types of over-the-counter remedies, it is often implicated in cases of accidental overdose. Acetaminophen is remarkably safe even in higher doses; between 1990 and 1998, only 458 people died from overdoses of acetaminophen. The symptoms of acetaminophen overdose are similar to those mentioned for aspirin poisoning. Overdose victims may also experience grogginess, extreme hunger or confusion as side effects of their condition.
- Ibuprofen is considered one of the most powerful and effective over-the-counter pain relief medications. When used too frequently, over too long a period of time or in too large a dosage, however, ibuprofen can be damaging to the function of the liver, intestines and circulatory system. Some common symptoms of overdose or overuse include gastrointestinal distress, nausea, vomiting, reduced urination, headache and skin rash. If ibuprofen overdose is suspected, the patient should be taken for medical evaluation and treatment immediately.
Reading over-the-counter medication labels carefully can often provide added protection against these serious symptoms and side effects. Overdose Not the Only Risk Many readily available non-prescription medications can cause drowsiness that can increase reaction times and reduce the ability of drivers and machine operators to respond effectively to changing conditions behind the wheel or on the job. Some of the most common over-the-counter offenders in this regard include antihistamine products, motion sickness medications and anti-diarrheal medications. Use of these drugs while driving or working can result in serious accidents on the road or in the workplace. While some overdoses and accidents can be attributed to patient error, many others are the result of oversights made by medical professionals in recommending over-the-counter treatments. The labels provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers may also be misleading, incomplete or confusing for patients. Class action lawsuit attorneys can provide legal representation for those injured due to mistakes or negligence on the part of pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical practitioners. These legal experts can provide the help needed to hold manufacturers accountable for their actions and to achieve the maximum settlement possible in the cases they represent. By working with a qualified pharmaceutical lawsuit lawyer, patients and their families can even the playing field when seeking compensation from these large corporate entities.