Zyprexa: A “Safer” Antipsychotic?
The world's best selling schizophrenia medication, Zyprexa (manufacturer Eli Lilly's brand name for the drug olanzapine) was the fifth best selling drug in America in 2003, and was responsible for 34 percent of drugmaker Eli Lilly's total sales that year.
Introduced to the US market in 1996, the FDA approved Zyprexa for treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder related symptoms. US law prohibits drug manufacturers from marketing medication for off-label uses, but it does allow physicians to prescribe drugs for uses other than those specified.
Despite these regulations, allegations have been raised in lawsuits that Eli Lilly has violated this prohibition by encouraging doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for many off-label uses such as panic attacks, mood disorders, and anorexia.
The Dangerous Side Effects of Zyprexa
Marketed as a safer alternative to older antipsychotic medications, Zyprexa has been shown to result in many damaging side effects, including but not limited to the following:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
- Diabetic Coma
Many of these conditions can ultimately prove fatal. According to Robert Whitaker's 2003 book Mad in America, detailing the dangerous and deadly effects of Zyprexa, information from Zyprexa clinical trials disclosed to the FDA, one of every 145 participants in Zyprexa's drug trials died as a result.
These disturbing results were confirmed and repeated in Zyprexa's pre-marketing trials, during which twenty Zyprexa related deaths were recorded, and two of every three participants did not complete the trial due to side effects and other complications with the drug.
Other, common side effects of Zyprexa include the following:
- Weight gain
- Tremors and psychomotor agitation
- Difficulty with bowel movement
Symptoms to Watch For
Due to the severity and frequently fatal results of many of the side effects of Zyprexa, it is essential that anyone who is taking the drug or knows someone who is should be aware of some of the indications of problems with Zyprexa.
If you or someone you know is taking Zyprexa and develops any of the following symptoms, seek medical help immediately, as these could be signs of a serious and even deadly condition:
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes to blood pressure and heart rhythm
- Inability to heal, or a slow healing process
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- Increased urination
- Stiff muscles
- Stomach pains
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
Since 2003, over 100 product liability cases have been filed against Eli Lilly as a result of injuries suffered from taking Zyprexa. The Louisiana State Attorney General has also filed a multi-million dollar civil suit against Eli Lilly, along with another drug manufacturer, alleging violations of consumer protection laws and unfair business practices, in part as a response to Lilly's allegedly misleading and illegal marketing strategies.
Where to Turn for Help
If you or someone you care about was prescribed Zyprexa and suffered injuries as a result, it is important that you seek competent legal advice as soon as possible.
Eli Lilly has earned billions of dollars selling Zyprexa without sufficiently warning patients of its dangers, and while actively avoiding complying with consumer protection regulations. The patients who suffered as a result of Eli Lilly's callous business practices deserve to be compensated for their injuries as best they can.
To learn more about your right to compensation, contact an experience pharmaceutical injury attorney in your area who can review your case with you and help you get your family the compensation they need and deserve.
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