Prescription Drugs More Likely to Kill You than Recreational Drugs
November 11, 2008
The number of reports of serious problems, including deaths, linked to medications hit a record in the first three months of this year.
The FDA received nearly 21,000 reports of serious drug reactions, including over 4,800 deaths, over that period. Two drugs accounted for a disproportionately large share of the problems -- heparin, a tainted blood thinner from China that caused an international safety scandal, and Chantix, a new anti-smoking drug from Pfizer.
Chantix had the most reports of any medication.
Earlier this year, the FDA warned that Chantix may be linked to psychiatric problems, including suicidal behavior.
Serious drug reactions are ones that cause hospitalization, require medical intervention, or place a life in jeopardy. The total of 20,745 cases reported from January to March was 38 percent higher than the average for the previous four calendar quarters, and the highest for any quarter.
Fatalities accounted for 23 percent of the cases.