Liver damage can be caused by any number of factors, but such injuries induced by prescription medications are of particular concern.
The liver, which is situated just above and to the right of the stomach, is an important organ that plays multiple roles in maintaining health. It’s involved in the digestive process, blood purification and detoxification as well as the production of different proteins that assist with molecular transport and blood clotting.
Many prescription and over the counter drugs and even herbal supplements and teas can interfere with healthy liver function.
What Are Symptoms of Liver Damage?
Some general symptoms that may indicate liver damage are:
- fatigue and overall weakness
- abdominal pain
- poor appetite
More specific symptoms may include:
- yellowish skin, or jaundice
- unusual itching
- bruising (due to a lack of clotting factor in the blood)
Signs of advanced liver damage and disease, such as cirrhosis, can manifest as:
- fluid buildup in the limbs or abdomen
- cognitive impairment
- kidney failure
- gastrointestinal bleeding
- frequent bacterial infections
What Drugs Can Lead to Liver Damage?
Common medications that can lead to impaired liver function and disease are:
- acetaminophen (general analgesic)
- amiodarone (indicated for arrhythmia)
- disulfram (used to treat alcoholism)
- methotrexate (psoriasis, arthritis and Crohn’s disease)
- niacin and statin drugs (for high cholesterol)
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, like Aleve)
- tacrine (used to treat Alzheimer’s disease)
In addition to those listed above, liver damage can result from the use of certain antibiotics and even vitamin and herbal supplements.
In most cases, liver injury results from overdoses, or taking a medication over an extended period of time. However, in some cases, such as with amiodarone, liver damage can occur in a relatively short amount of time in a few individuals.
What is Amiodarone?
Amiodarone is a medication generally used to treat cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm), one of the most commonly experienced heart disorders. To treat cardiac arrhythmia, amiodarone works to block particular electrical signals in the heart that can lead to this irregular heartbeat.
How Do These Drugs Cause Liver Damage?
The mechanism for each type of medication is different; therefore, the way in which various drugs and supplements affect the liver varies. For example, amiodarone (sold under the brand names Cordarone, Nexterone and Pacerone) tends to accumulate in the liver. As it builds up, amiodarone toxicity can lead to fatty liver, cirrhosis and hepatitis. Ultimately, the patient may experience liver failure, necessitating a transplant.
It should be noted that while some cases of drug-induced liver damage can be reversed by discontinuing the medication in question, this is not necessarily true of amiodarone; the effects can last for some time after a patient stops taking it.
Were Drug Companies Aware of These Dangers?
In some cases, yes; in others, possibly not. Sometimes the issue is more complicated. For example, in addition to liver damage, amiodarone has been linked to more than a dozen serious and life-threatening conditions, including damage of the lungs and the optic nerve. For this reason, amiodarone was not approved as a first-line treatment for arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats): knowledgeable physicians prescribe it only when a patient fails to respond to other treatments.
However, at least one drugmaker has been accused of engaging in an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at convincing the public otherwise. A number of doctors still prescribe amiodarone before other medications.
What Are Other Amiodarone Side Effects?
Of course, any medication will come with certain side effects, and amiodarone is no exception. Common complications linked with this medication include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and tiredness, among others. These are included on the drug’s warning label—regardless, if these issues persist or worsen, consult your doctor.
But amiodarone has also been linked with more serious complications, including damage to the optic nerve, blindness, liver damage, lung disease, and even death.
Can I File An Amiodarone Lawsuit?
If you or someone you love has suffered from liver damage or other side effects after taking amiodarone, you may be able to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation. Of course, filing a lawsuit cannot take away the pain and suffering caused by these complications, nor can it bring a loved one back to life, but it can at least help to alleviate the financial burden incurred by medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Filing a lawsuit can be a daunting prospect, especially while you’re also dealing with serious health issues, so Top Class Actions has laid the groundwork for you by connecting you with an experienced attorney. Consulting an attorney can help you determine if you have a claim, navigate the complexities of litigation, and maximize your potential compensation.
If you or a loved one suffered from a serious amiodarone side effect, you may qualify to join this amiodarone toxicty lawsuit investigation. Filing an amiodarone lawsuit may help you recover some of the medical costs and lost wages associated with the amiodarone injury. See if you qualify by filling out the form on this page for a free case evaluation.
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