Every day, Americans suffer from side effects and injuries related to prescription drugs.
Call 6 Investigates did some checking to find out how you can research a drug’s safety and how to report side effects.
Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog groups that tracks prescription drugs, believes patients should not rely on advertisements or the drug makers for information.
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“Challenge your doctor and ask ‘Is this something I really need?’” said Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s health research group.
Public Citizen runs the website, http://www.worstpills.org/, which offers an independent opinion on more than 1,800 prescription drugs, over the counter medications and supplements.
“We are one of the few sites that makes specific recommendations about whether a drug is safe to use or not,” said Carome.
(Note: Some of the information is free, while some requires a subscription.)
You can also find drug safety information on the FDA’s website and at the National Library of Medicine here: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/default.htm
Dr. Richard Feldman, former Indiana State Health Commissioner and family physician, told Call 6 Investigates that the public needs to keep things in perspective.
“If you take any antibiotic or medication, there are common side effects,” said Feldman. “Serious side effects of medications tend to get overblown in the media, magnified on the internet, and sometimes the legal profession latches on to a rare side effect. Just because a side effect has been reported, doesn’t mean it’s related (to the drug).”
If you experience an adverse event or side effect, you can report to the FDA MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
o Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report
o Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178
Call 6 Investigates is finishing up a special report about the popular antibiotic Levaquin, which an Indiana mother says is to blame for her son’s death. We'll air that story Monday night at 11 p.m. on RTV6 and post it here on theindychannel.com and RTV6 app shortly after.