Posted in Law on 12.06.12
WHAT IS ZYPREXA?
Over and over again Pharmaceutical companies have tried to provide remedies for the myriad diseases troubling mankind. Much has been done in the area of physiological diseases but the greater progression would in the area of mental illnesses.
Eli Lilly and Company's Zyprexa is one drug that has achieved a lot of publicity and usage in recent times due to its potent. This brand name drug is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar and other mild psychiatric illnesses.
Zyprexa is a psychotropic medication, which means its use has an effect on the mind. It is basically used in the treatment of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia which we mentioned above.
The drug produces a balancing or neutralizing effect on the mind. It merely restores or realigns the chemicals in the brain that are responsible for achieving a balanced mind. These chemicals are naturally produced in your brain and the drug merely puts them back on track if you had a disturbance.
There are special chemicals in your brain which helps you to move information from one cell to another. When these get out of balance, routine messages such as thought and feeling can become impaired.
SCHIZOPHRENIA AND BIPOLAR DISORDER
Since the drug is mainly used to treat incidences of Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, it is important to know what these diseases are in depth.
Schizophrenia is a psychiatric condition characterised by a persistent, mental illness that affects the individual's thinking , perception of reality, behavior and emotion . Actually the word takes its origins from the Greek words, schizo which means to divide and phrenos which stands for the mind. So Schizophrenia effectively means a divided mind or a disorganised personality.
The symptoms of these diseases are varied but the principal ones are the individual's inability to distinguish between internal and external experiences. Victims experience hallucinations, incoherence in thought and lack of motivation.
Schizophrenia affects the way your brain processes information. Some of the effects of this situation are slow processing of information, reaching invalid conclusions, severe agitation and hostility.
Bipolar disorder is a depressive disease that impairs one's mood, energy and general body function. The effects are disturbed relationship, lack of motivation and general apathy.
Bipolar disorder is basically erratic mood. You see, everybody can have ups and downs in the mood in the course of everyday living but if these fluctuations in mood become so persistent and chronic that they interfere with you ability to perform your role effectively in society, at home, in relationships, at work or in school, then you have bipolar disorder.
Sometimes these moods can make a person feel highly elated at one point during which the victim demonstrates exaggerated self esteem or optimism. During highly depressive moods, there can be extreme sadness, guilt or hopelessness. During this mood, the victim can even contemplate suicide.
The interval for these fluctuations can be regular, irregular or short or long cycles. One may experience these irregularities in mood once a month or twice a week.
Both diseases can be caused by environmental or genetic factors.
SOME FACTS ABOUT ZYPREXA
Now let's get back to some facts about Zyprexa.
To date, over 16 million people have used this drug.
It was the first atypical antipsychotic drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of acute bipolar mania.
Zyprexa effectively controls hallucinations and delusions, and thus reverses the negative social effects of Bipolar disorder such as social withdrawal and apathy.
FORMS OF ZYPREXA
Zyprexa comes in flavors. There is the tablet form which is taken once in a day and available in dosages of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg and 20 mg.
There is also the Zyprexa Intramuscular which is used to control aggressive behavior in persons with bipolar mania. Zyprexa Intramuscular is in the form of injection and therefore acts faster than the pill type.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF ZYPREXA
Just like any drug, Zyprexa comes with side effects.
The most widely reported side effect is drowsiness. Others include dry mouth, dizziness, and general body weakness.
Some users report of constipation, stomach ache and mild trembling while others gain weight after taking Zyprexa for some time.
Another side effect is seizures.
Users may also develop Tardive Dyskinesia which is characterized by involuntary, dyskinetic movements which may be irreversible because there is no known cue for this disease.
Zyprexa can bring about the onset of hypertension which may not be good news for people with high blood pressure
Prolonged usage of this drug can result in sleepiness, unexplained drowsiness and impaired judgment.
The side effects have been well documented by several authorities including El Lily itself which issued a public notice which appears in part below:
"Zyprexa Warning Letter - Eli Lilly
March 1, 2004
Re: Safety data on Zyprexa ® (olanzapine) - Hyperglycemia and Diabetes
Eli Lilly and Company would like to inform you of important labeling changes regarding Zyprexa (olanzapine). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked all manufacturers of atypical antipsychotic medications, including Lilly, to add a Warning statement describing the increased risk of hyperglycemia and diabetes in patients taking these medications, including Zyprexa. In addition to Zyprexa, the atypical antipsychotic class includes Clozaril ® (clozapine, Novartis), Risperdal ® (risperidone, Janssen), Seroquel ® (quetiapine, AstraZeneca), Geodon ® (ziprasidone, Pfizer), and Abilify ® (aripiprazole, Bristol Myers Squibb and Otsuka American Pharmaceutical)."
On April 11, 2005 the FDA issued a warning on Zyprexa after series of investigations proved that the drug had a dangerous side effect that the public had to be notified of. Accordingly, the manufacturer was ordered to relabel the drug with a warning.
On May 3, 2002, Britain 's Medicines Control Agency also warned users of the potential dangers of the drug.
In April 2002, the Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry reported two deaths related to Zyprexa and issued a notice to the manufacturer about the dangers of the drug.
These incidences obviously gave rise to a number of Zyprexa lawsuits against the company.
ARISING LEGAL CASES
Since the release of the FDA's warning on the drug, many Zyprexa lawsuits have arisen against Eli Lilly. Most of the Zyprexa lawsuits border on the company's failure to disclose the potential side effects of the drug.
Basically, the arguments put forth has been that, if Zyprexa which was supposed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder has been inducing diabetes, seizures and weight-gain in patients, then the company must some compensate the victims for fraud and deception.
Reminiscent of Vioxx, various compensations are been demanded by victims all over.
Recently, a San Francisco-based firm called Hersh & Hersh filed over 30 Zyprexa lawsuits against the manufacturers on behalf of victims.
YOU CAN SEEK LEGAL RECOURSE IF YOU ARE A VICTIM
There are several legal avenues for a victim of Zyprexa.
You can contact Weitz & Luxenberg which is specialized in Zyprexa cases and get your matter taken to court to help you get the deserved compensation. You can call at their offices at 180 Maiden Lane , 17th Floor, New York or call them on (800) 476-6070.
You can also seek redress by letting Alexander, Hawes & Audet, LLP of San Jose, CA help you out. You can call them on 800.921.1776. Or access their website at alexanderlaw.com
Michael Monheit in Rydal , PA is another firm dealing in Zyprexa lawsuit cases. You can also avail yourself of a free legal service at anattorneyforyou.com . This site helps people find suitable legal services for their cases. It's like a referral service with the advantage of helping you cut cost whilst providing competitive information for your choice of an attorney.
WHAT CONSUMERS SHOULD KNOW
You should note that drugs have different effects on different people. Not all people will experience the effects enumerated above. Nevertheless, it is prudent that you become aware that these are the potential dangers associated with the use of the drug Zyprexa.
If you experience any of these side effects and are sure that they are as a result of your intake of Zyprexa, you may have to see you doctor immediately for a check whether your claims are well-founded. If they are, then you may have the right to a legal recourse.
Whether patients should continue to use Zyprexa or not is debatable. In the absence of any effective alternative for the treatment of bipolar disorder, it may continue to be on the list of doctors for some time until the substitute arrives. In that case, patients may have to choose between living with their symptoms and taking the drug at a risk. None of these alternatives may be comfortable, though. For if you keep on living with the diseases, you risk your work life or relationship. If you take it, you may engender even more potentially dangerous diseases. If you seek redress, you have to be ready for legal fees.
About the author: For further information on Zyprexa, visit http://www.inside-zyprexa.info