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Counting Down 10 Dangerous Drugs Recalled by the FDA


The FDA protects consumers from products that may be harmful or dangerous by issuing a recall and pulling them from the market. Between 1975 and 2010, the 10 drugs listed below were recalled. While products can be pulled because of labeling or manufacturing violations, these 10 were considered defective and dangerous and have resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of lawsuits. We’ve ranked these banned drugs from threatening to downright dangerous.

#10 – Pemoline (Cylert) – On sale from 1975 to 2010

Pemoline was used in the treatment of ADD and ADHD and served as a central nervous system stimulant. The drug was found to cause liver damage in 1999 and was recalled in 2010.

#9 – Terfenadine (Seldane) – On sale from 1985 to 1998

An antihistamine, Terfenadine was recalled because of its adverse interactions with other drugs. Although the drug only caused heart problems when taken with erythromycin or ketoconazole, it was pulled from the market because fexofenadine (Allegra) offered a safer alternative.

#8 – Levamisole (Ergamisol) – On sale from 1989 to 2000

Used to treat worm infestation, colon or breast cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis, this drug was recalled because it caused agranulocytosis, neutropenia, and thrombotic vasculopathy. Many patients experienced eye discoloration called retiform purpura, a condition that requires surgery. Interestingly enough, levamisole is still used to eliminate worms in animals.

#7 – Isotretinoin (Accutane) – On sale from 1982 to 2009

An acne medicine should not make you want to commit suicide, but that’s exactly what this drug did. In addition to suicide ideation and inflammatory bowel disease, the drug caused birth defects, miscarriage, and premature death in pregnant woman. While Accutane was recalled in 2009, isotretinoin is still available in several generic versions. The drug company, Hoffman-La Roche, has faced over 7,000 lawsuits, three of which have resulted in Plaintiff awards totaling about $10 million.

#6 – Valdecoxib (Bextra) – On sale from 2001 to 2005

The drug market is inundated with NSAID pain medications. Valdecoxib didn’t outperform any of its competitors, but it did trigger heart attacks, stroke and death, and it increased the risk for skin conditions like epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, and Steven-Johnson syndrome. As if that wasn’t enough, the drug could also cause gastrointestinal bleeding.

#5 – Bromfenac (Duract) – On sale from 1997 to 1998

While it was only available to consumers for one year, this pain killer caused 4 deaths, 8 liver transplants, and 12 cases of severe liver damage. The drug only becomes dangerous when taken for longer than 10 days, but it was often prescribed for longer periods of time.

#4 – Troglitazone (Rezulin) – On sale from 1997 to 2000

35,000 people sued Parke-Davis/Warner Lambert, now known as Pfizer, over this antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory drug. Taking the drug resulted in 90 cases of liver failures and approximately 63 deaths.

#3 – Sibutramine (Meridia) – On sale from 1997 to 2010

Similar to the heart-attack happy-Vioxx, this appetite suppressant upped patient risk for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, Sibutramine was not distributed to as many people as Vioxx and is therefore considered less deadly.

#2 Rofecoxib (Vioxx) – On sale from 1999 to 2004

This arthritis NSAID was given to over 20 million people and was associated with nearly 28,000 heart attacks. Research shows that for every 1,000 people who took Vioxx, four of them had heart attacks.

#1 Efalizumab (Raptiva) – On sale from 2003 to 2009

The last thing someone expects when taking a medication prescribed by their doctor for psoriasis is being diagnosed with a rare and lethal disease. Raptiva was recalled for causing multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a disease that inflames and damages the white matter of the brain and central nervous system and ultimately leads to death.

If you notice some outrageous side effects with your next medication, or even adverse trends within your friend group, report it to MedWatch immediately.

If you live in Kansas City and believe you have been exposed to any dangerous drugs or harmed by any kind of defective product, don’t hesitate! Contact Bertram & Graf, LLC today. We can be reached at: (888) 398-2277.