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Marketing Campaigns Overshadow Deadly Side Effects Of Some Drugs

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Drug  Companies Pay Billions A Year To Soften The Health Risks Through Advertising

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Over the past several decades, the government has required specific detailed warnings on the labels of all medication sold to the public that can cause health risks or concerns of any kind. Side effects can range from headaches, diarrhea to sudden death. Drug manufacturers are now spending mega-millions of dollars each year using high profile celebrities in promoting and or advertising their medications in the media. They claim you will benefit greatly from taking this drug" if you survive the side effects first.
"The person who takes medicine must recover twice, once from the disease and once from the medicine"... William Osler, M.D.
Seven Meds That Claim Great Benefits With The Worst Possible Side Effects
1. ENBREL (Pfizer Inc)
An ongoing  TV commercial from mega drug manufacturer Pfizer, depicts famed pro-golfer Phil Mickelson in an ad for their product "Enbrel." The company aired its sixty second commercial of Phil playing golf with his voice overlay of personal struggles with Psoriatic Arthritis, and his use of Enbrel. In reality, forty-five seconds of the full version of this commercial, is a voice overlay describing to viewers the serious side-effects caused by the use of this drug prescribed to patients for the treatment of five long-term inflammatory diseases.
For anyone suffering from these debilitating illnesses, which include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Plaque Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, this medication can help manage symptoms, improve functions and in some cases help keep the disease from getting worse. But, with this medication also comes a list of precautions that is a mile long and far more serious than the disease it treats.
Most Serious Side Effects And Precautions: 
In clinical studies, people with congestive heart failure (CHF) who took Enbrel had an increased risk of death. Also, worsening of heart failure and new cases of heart failure. (in people that did not already have CHF) Serious infections have happened in patients taking Enbrel. These infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some patients have died from these infections. 
Enbrel can increase your chance of infections, including serious infections. You should not start this medication if you have an infection (even a skin infection). Enbrel has been reported to cause certain nervous system conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS), seizures, epilepsy, and other conditions. This medication may also make these conditions worse. Enbrel has caused dangerously low blood counts. (including aplastic anemia)
You should tell your healthcare provider about any unusual bruising, bleeding, or paleness during treatment. Enbrel can increase your risk of lymphoma (a certain type of cancer). In clinical studies, people who took both Enbrel and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) had an even higher risk of lymphoma. In general, these medications should not be taken together. Enbrel can cause certain infections (such as hepatitis B or tuberculosis) that are inactive in the body to become active again. 
Allergic reactions can occur with Enbrel. These reactions include rashes, hives, itching, wheezing or difficulty breathing, and unusual swelling. You should not receive live vaccines while taking Enbrel. Enbrel has caused lupus-like conditions or autoimmune hepatitis. Symptoms of a lupus-like condition may include an unexplained rash across the nose and checks (known as a butterfly rash) or ulcers in the mouth or nose.
Also, for children, teenagers, the chances of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase. Patients with RA or psoriasis may be more likely to get lymphoma.
2. CELEBREX (Pfizer Inc)
Celebrex is indicated for the relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, and for the management of acute pain in adults.
According to another Pfizer product advertisement, just one 200-mg Celebrex a day can provide 24-hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. In clinical studies with osteoarthritis patients, Celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. In fact, Pfizer claims it improves pain, stiffness, and physical function. In their 12-week study, osteoarthritis patients experienced sustained pain relief throughout the duration of the study from weeks 2 to 12.
Most Serious Side Effects And Precautions: 
Celebrex may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke that can lead to death. This chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors for it, such as high blood pressure or when NSAIDs are taken for long periods. Each year 41,000 older adults are hospitalized and 3,300 of these die from ulcers caused by NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, usually for treatment of arthritis) and thousands of younger adults are hospitalized each year.
This medication should not be used right before or after certain heart surgeries. Serious skin reactions, or stomach and intestine problems such as bleeding and ulcers, can occur without warning and may cause death.
 Patients taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. Do not take Celebrex if you've had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reactions to aspirin, any other NSAID medicine, or certain drugs called sulfonamides. Life threatening allergic reactions can occur with Celebrex.
3. RAPTIVA (Genentech Inc)
Raptiva is manufactured by Genentech; Inc., which is a member of the Roche Group. This drug was originally approved for distribution by the FDA in 2003. Its intended use was to help those who suffered from psoriasis to manage the disease more comfortably. For a time, Raptiva proved to be highly successful, but reports show that serious and sometimes grave side effects followed its use. 
Because of those serious health risks, the FDA and Genentech agreed on a voluntary withdrawal of sales in the US in April 2009. At the time, there were approximately 2,000 patients taking the drug in the U.S. and 44,000 worldwide. But, you can still obtain this drug online.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, Raptiva works by, "blocking the activation of certain immune cells called T cells, and the migration of those cells into the skin. T cells are a type of white blood cell in the body; in psoriasis, once these T cells are mistakenly activated, they can trigger inflammation and other immune responses and fuel the development of psoriasis lesions.
Most Serious Side Effects And Precautions
Raptiva can decrease the activity of your immune system to fight infections. Some infections in people have become serious and in rare cases these have led to hospitalization or death. It has been linked to the likely increase of getting Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare brain disease caused by a virus which usually results in death or severe disability.
Other serious side effects experienced by patients treated with this drug included low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), low blood counts (anemia), new or worsening psoriasis, new or worsening arthritis, and nervous system disorders. Also, study tests revealed cases of Viral Meningitis, Bacterial Sepsis, Invasive Fungal Disease and Brain Infection, (Encephalopathy)
Even though this drug is supposedly not available any longer in the US, there are continued sales of Raptiva to US residents online. From Canada to Mexico and around the globe, you can still purchase Raptiva and have it shipped directly to your home. We even found one California online pharmacy that still offers Raptiva. (links below)
4. AVANDIA (Glaxo-Smith-Cline Inc)
The blockbuster drug was introduced by GlaxoSmithKline in 1999 and soon became one of the most popular diabetes drugs because of its ability to improve control of Type 2 diabetes. By 2006, at least 1 million Americans were taking the drug and annual sales had climbed to more than $3 billion.
The controversial diabetes drug, known generically as rosiglitazone, will no longer be available in most pharmacies after November 2011. The Food and Drug Administration says that it will be available by mail order only from selected certified pharmacies, and patients as well as physicians will have to undergo educational programs before it can be prescribed.
Most Serious Side Effects And Precautions: 
In 2007, Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen published a study showing a 40% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and death among those taking it. This risk may be higher in people who are also taking insulin. Because of the potential increased risk of myocardial infarction. As of last October, only about 119,000 U.S. patients were taking the drug. Most patients who were using it shifted to the related drug Actos, known generically as pioglitazone, which is not believed to cause similar cardiovascular effects.
Also, a small number of people who have taken metformin have developed a rare yet serious condition called lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in the blood) that also can cause death.
Women taking Avandia should know that this medication may increase the risk of pregnancy. Other lesser side effects range from possible side effects includes fractures, anemia and hypoglycemia, diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach.
The new action, implemented under the agency's Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, applies not only to Avandia, but also to Avandamet (which contains rosiglitazone and metformin) and Avandaryl (a combination of rosiglitazone and glimepiride). The drugs will be available only to patients who are already successfully using them and whose diabetes cannot be controlled with any other medication, or those who do not wish to take pioglitazone. 
Physicians who wish to prescribe the drugs and patients who wish to receive them must be enrolled in the Avandia-Rosiglitazone Medicines Access Program. Physicians must certify that they have read and understood the conditions for use of the drugs and agree to explain the risks fully to patients.
5. CHANTIX (Pfizer Inc)
Chantix is a non-nicotine prescription medicine specifically developed by Pfizer to help adults 18 and over quit smoking. This medication does not contain nicotine. It works in two ways. It targets nicotine receptors in the brain, attaches to them, and blocks nicotine from reaching them. It is believed that it also activates these receptors, causing a reduced release of dopamine compared to nicotine.
Most Serious Side Effects And Precautions: 
Studies showed some people had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions while using Chantix to help them quit smoking. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping. Others have developed suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion.
6. LITHIUM (Glaxo-Smith-Kline)
Lithium is used to treat and prevent episodes of mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood) in people with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder; a disease that causes episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and other abnormal moods). Lithium is in a class of medications called antimanic agents. It works by decreasing abnormal activity in the brain. 
Lithium is also sometimes used to treat certain blood disorders, depression, schizophrenia (a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thinking, loss of interest in life, and strong or inappropriate emotions), disorders of impulse control (inability to resist the urge to perform a harmful action), and certain mental illnesses in children. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
Most Serious Side Effects And Precautions:
Heart disease, lithium toxicity, tiredness, shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control, muscle weakness, stiffness, twitching, or tightness, loss of coordination, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, frequent urination, giddiness, ringing in the ears, slow, jerky movements, movements that are unusual or difficult to control, blackouts, seizures, slurred speech, fast, slow, irregular, or pounding heartbeat, chest tightness, confusion, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), crossed eyes, painful, cold, or discolored fingers and toes.
Headache, pounding noises inside the head, changes in vision, paleness, itching, rash, swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, restlessness, fine hand movements that are difficult to control, loss of appetite, stomach pain or bloating, gas, indigestion, weight gain or loss, dry mouth, excessive saliva in the mouth, tongue pain, change in the ability to taste food, swollen lips, acne, hair loss, unusual discomfort in cold temperatures, constipation, depression, joint or muscle pain, thin, brittle fingernails or hair.
7. CLARITHROMYCIN (Taisho Pharmaceuticals) 
Biaxin is the most common brand name for clarithromycin, an antibiotic used in the treatment of a variety of infections. The regular, short-acting tablets and the oral suspension are approved for treating all the below infections, but only when they are caused by certain types of bacteria. It may also be used to treat such conditions as Legionnaire's disease, MAC or mycobacterium avium complex, or for ulcers in the upper part of the small intestines known as the duodenum.
Not all bacteria will respond to the drug. Even among the types of bacteria that do respond to it, some strains have become resistant and may have different resistance patterns in different regions of the country. 
In adults: Strep Throat, Tonsillitis, Sinus Infections, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Skin Infections, Mycobacterium avium complex (an infection that usually occurs in people with AIDS), for both treatment and prevention. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection in people with duodenal ulcers (intestinal ulcers), when used in combination with other medications
In Children: Strep Throat, Tonsillitis, Sinus Infections, Pneumonia, Ear infections, Mycobacterium avium complex (an infection that usually occurs in people with AIDS), for both treatment and prevention.
Shocking Case Study Shows Clarithromycin May Cause Sudden Death.
In 2005, Doctors had hoped to show that the use of Clarithromycin would help to improve patients who suffered from stable heart disease. What they found shocked the medical profession and the FDA. The "CLARICOR" study, which lasted several years in Denmark, measured the use of short-term clarithromycin treatment and a placebo in patients who suffered from stable heart disease.
The findings baffled both the Denmark research team and the FDA because it showed an increase in sudden cardiac deaths from patients taking Clarithromycin than ones who took the placebo. The test group consisted of 4,300 patients. In the course of the entire study over several years, 384 died. Analysis found that there were 212 deaths in the group who took clarithromycin and 172 deaths in the placebo group.
Other Known Side Effects:
Cough, urination difficulties or pain, a fever, pain in the side or back, chills and hoarseness. Rare, serious side effects include skin or eye yellowing, tenderness in the abdomen, diarrhea that is watery and can include blood, vomiting and nausea, and stomach cramps and pain that are severe, feces discoloration, anxiety, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), unreal sensations, skin blistering, hunger increases and vision blurring, nightmares, mental confusion, nervousness, appetite loss, urine discoloration, depression, hallucinations, swallowing difficulties, dizziness and shakiness, mood changes that are severe, fainting that happens more than once, seizures, vomiting blood, halitosis and abnormal behavior.
In Closing,
One hundred thousand Americans die each year due to complications from medications that they take as prescribed by their doctors. That is a staggering number, so is the 1.5 million who are sickened or severely injured by medication mistakes. More and more of these drugs are being developed and advertised as the new wander pill that will either sustain your current ailments, or completely relieve your pain and suffering as long as you take the recommended dose.
How many people do you know who regularly use a prescription medication? If your social group is like most Americans, the answer is most. In a 2010 study, sixty-five percent of the country takes a prescription drug these days. 
Federal law dictates that the drug industry has to make public the harmful or deadly side effects of their medications. And for the most part, companies do conform. But, manufacturers have come up with marketing strategies to downplay or distract people from the long list of precautions by enlisting the help of celebrity superstars to be their spokespersons in TV, newspaper and radio advertisements. It is a gimmick, and it works very well. At least until one of these celebrities' falls over dead from taking the medication they are endorsing. 
Drug Manufacturers also spend hundreds of millions of dollars on physicians every year. In one survey, 9 out of 10 doctors said they had recently taken something of value from the drug industry. And some of those doctors take hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the industry. The drug companies pay doctors to be their so-called consultants. They also pay them to sit on corporate advisory boards and to give lectures to other doctors. 
They pay for up to 80 percent of the continuing medical education that doctors need to maintain their licenses. If you ask a doctor if this is a problem, they will more than likely tell you no. But the studies show that even a small gift will sway doctors to write a prescription for a certain drug. The truth is that doctors are no longer independent gatekeepers who keep us safe from drugs we don't need. Far too many of them are financially tied to the industry. They are writing the prescriptions that their financial backers want them to write.
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I am the publisher of an online news website and blog covering local, state and national news since 2007. Author of 4 cold-case murder books in the "Who Killed?" series published by Rooftop Publishing Company. Retired from mainstream media in 2007 (more...)
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