In many cases, prescription drugs are used safely without incidence of patient injury or illness. However, a number of popular prescription medications have been indicated in association with brain damage or mental health conditions.
This can happen when a drug’s potential side effects cause brain injury – such as when a drug is linked to stroke. This also may happen when a drug’s potential side effects directly include changes in the brain’s functioning, such as when a prescription causes suicidal thoughts.
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A Brief Overview of Acquired Brain Injuries
Brain damage linked to prescription drug use typically qualifies as an acquired brain injury (ABI). These are injuries that occur after birth.
These injuries may be caused by:
- stroke (when blood does not sufficiently reach the brain’s tissues, typically caused by a burst or blocked blood vessel in the brain);
- exposure to toxins;
- anoxia (brain does not receive oxygen);
- hypoxia (when the brain receives insufficient oxygen);
- drowning; and
The long-term effects of ABI include changes in a person’s behavior or difficultly with problem solving. A patient who acquires brain injury as a result of a prescription drug may have difficulty continuing to work or engaging in other daily activities, such as driving and caring for children.
Prescription Drugs that Have Been Linked to Brain Injury
Certain prescription drugs have been linked to ABIs and other types of brain damage.
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Below is a list of some popular drugs that have been indicated in one or more cases of brain injury:
- Accutane – Used primarily in the treatment of adolescent acne, rare side effects of Accutane may include depression and suicidal thoughts and tendencies in some patients.
- Benzodiazepines (otherwise known as “benzos”) – This class of drug is typically used in such drugs as Valium and Xanax. A 2010 article in the British newspaper, Independent, reported that officials had been aware of a possible link between benzos and brain damage for about 30 years. Scientists had recommended further studies that were never carried out, according to the report. Additionally, these drugs have been shown to be addictive for some patients.
- Celebrex – This drug, and its generic equivalent Celecoxib, is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and polyposis. Recent health concerns have motivated advocates to request more information about the drug’s potential link to strokes and heart attacks.
These are just a few examples of drugs that may cause some type of brain injury or mental conditions in some patients. Speak to your physician about your risks if you currently take a prescription drug. And always inform your physician of the medications you are taking to avoid prescription of other drugs that may negatively interact with your current medications.
Call the Preszler Law Firm in Ontario at 1-800-JUSTICE® if you suspect you or your loved one has suffered injury or illness because of a prescription drug.