Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to create products that are safe and also have a duty to warn consumers about any risks that could come after consuming certain drugs. Some manufacturers do that, but some do not. As a result, people can get injured by a defective drug such as Atripla. If this has happened to you or someone that you love, Consumer Alert Now is here to help connect you with competent attorneys in this field, who can advise you accordingly.
An Overview of Atripla
Atripla is a pill that contains three medicines in one, namely Emtricitabine, Tenofovir, and Efavirenz. The drug can be used solely, or with a combination of other HIV drugs to aid in the control of infections related to HIV. The pill is mainly used to reduce the volume of HIV in the body of a patient to improve the functioning of their immune system. With a better functioning immune system, an HIV patient can reduce their chances of getting complications related to the virus, including new infections and also cancer.
Efavirenz is a drug in the class of medications referred to as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. The other two drugs, Tenofovir, and Emtricitabine, belong to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors class. The three drugs together are, however, not a remedy for HIV infections. The pill will help improve your immune system but if you do not want to spread the virus to other people, you must continue taking all your HIV medications just as directed by your physician, use protection when you engage in sexual intercourse and avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, and needles that might contain contaminated body fluids
Atripla is a type of drug that should be taken very cautiously because of the side effects it presents. Patients are, therefore, required to read through the patient info pamphlet carefully before they start taking the pill, and every time you go for a refill. The pharmacist from the manufacturer usually provides the brochures. If something is not clear, or you got a question concerning the information in the leaflet, it is essential to consult a pharmacist or your doctor.
The drug is supposed to be taken orally and on an empty stomach. No food should be taken on or around the time you are taking it. In most cases, the prescription reads that the pill should be taken once daily, preferably before going to bed, or as per your doctor’s orders. Many people prefer taking it at bedtime because this helps reduce its side effects.
As Atripla, you get fixed amounts of the three drugs: Emtricitabine, Tenofovir, and efavirenz. It is recommended to only use if your physician has resolved that the dosages provided on all the three medications are safe for you. If not, you might start experiencing its side effects.
Again, an HIV patient should continue taking all the other HIV drugs just as recommended by their doctor. Doses should not be skipped, nor should they be increased. Patients should also not take more of the Atripla drug than what the doctor has prescribed. Lastly, all HIV medications must be taken continuously, without stopping even for just a while unless you have been directed so by your physician. Not following the instructions may result in an increase in virus count, or worsen the infection and therefore hard to treat. There are side effects too.
What are the Side Effects of Atripla?
Atripla is a beneficial antiviral medication, which helps in the treatment of HIV. Even so, it comes with specific side effects that consumers should be aware of. As mentioned above, doctors prescribe this drug only when they feel that the benefits it presents are more significant than the risks it shows with its side effects. Majority of users of this drug do not experience severe side effects, but some will suffer consequences as follows:
- Sleeping problems
- Unusual dreams
- Concentration problems
Such side effects could occur frequently and might begin the first or second day of using the medication. The side effects could last up to two or even four weeks. Some people experience relief from the side effects if they take the drugs on an empty belly and at bedtime. Other side effects to watch out for include:
- Skin discoloration in the form of small spots or freckles. Some users experience blackening of the palms or soles of their feet
Once you start experiencing the side effect, it is advisable to inform your clinician or pharmacist immediately.
Remember that the medication is there to help strengthen your immunity. Once this happens, your body will start fighting the existing infections in your body, and this could bring back the symptoms you were experiencing. People experience symptoms even when their immune system is overactive. The reaction can be expected any time after patients have started taking HIV medication, or months later.
The right thing to do for a consumer is to get immediate medical help as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms. Some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout for include:
- Weight loss that cannot be explained
- Severe tiredness
- Weakness in muscles or muscle aches that won't go away
- Severe headaches that don't go away
- Numbness or tingling in the feet, hands, legs or arms
- Joint pains
- Vision changes
- Infection signs such as chills, fever, inflamed lymph nodes, coughing, trouble breathing, skin sores that don’t heal
- Indications of an overcharged thyroid, for example, irritability, heat tolerance, nervousness, fast or pounding or even an uneven heartbeat, unusual tumor in the thyroid or neck, called goiter, and bulging eyes,
- Signs of specific nerve problems such as Guillain-Barre disorder. These signs may include breathing, swallowing or moving your eyes, paralysis, drooping face, and troubled speaking among others
Some patients experience severe psychological symptoms during Atripla treatment. Some of these effects will be seen if the patient has mental or mood conditions. It is essential to report these too, to your doctor as soon as they occur to minimize the chances of severe side effects like depression, strange thoughts, rare suicidal thoughts, anxiety, hallucinations, angry behavior, and confusion.
Atripla is associated with kidney problems too; therefore it is essential to inform the doctor if any of these occasional but severe symptoms of kidney issues are experienced: change in the quantity of urine, indications of pancreatitis, like vomiting nausea, abdominal and back pain and fever, and getting unusually thirsty.
There is also a possibility of experiencing severe and sometimes fatal blood and liver problems with this medication, though this is quite rare. If you experience any of the symptoms listed here, you should be sure to inform your doctor immediately: vomiting or nausea that does not stop, stomach or abdominal pains, loss of desire for food, dark urine, and yellowing skin or eyes. Some patients have experienced issues such as lactic acidosis, characterized by drowsiness or deep and rapid breathing.
Another side effect associated with Atripla is that you may experience an increase in body fat after you start taking the medication. There might be increased fat around your tummy or upper back or decreased adipose tissue in the legs and arms. Unfortunately, the cause for this is not known, and no one knows if these changes have any lasting effects, it is essential to thoroughly consider the benefits and risks of the treatment, together with your medic, before you start it. You may as well consider incorporating exercises into your life to lessen this consequence.
One of the drug components of Atripla, Tenofovir, has been seen to increase the possibility of bone loss in patients using it. For this reason, you may consider using vitamin D and calcium supplements alongside the medication to minimize this effect. If your doctor believes that you are in danger of losing your bones, he/she may monitor the mineral density of your boss once you start the medication. If not, ensure you tell the doctor about any symptoms you may experience, such as pain in the bones, or bones that are breaking too quickly.
Generally, any severe side effects should be reported to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as it is experienced. Some of these symptoms could be severe dizziness, fast or irregular heartbeat, and even fainting. Sometimes Atripla has been seen to cause rashes, but not the severe type of rash. This rash is easy to tell apart from the typical rash caused by a reaction. If you get this rare type of rash, let your doctor know about it immediately.
There has not been any report of a severe allergic response to Atripla. However, it is essential to be alert and inform your doctor if any severe allergic reactions are experienced. What you should be on the lookout for are symptoms such as skin peeling, rashes, fever, blisters, itching or swelling, especially on the face, throat or tongue, trouble breathing and severe dizziness.
Mass Torts Against Manufacturer in Media
If prescribed correctly and used by the right patients, Atripla can help minimize HIV infections for a healthier and longer life. However, some patients have experienced extreme side effects that made their conditions even worse. There is an Atripla Lawsuit made by patients from across the country, against Atripla manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, which claim that Atripla and other medications based on TDF and from the same manufacturer have caused them severe damages to their bones and kidney.
In this lawsuit, plaintiffs claim that they suffered significant complications from kidney injuries and loss of their bone density after they started taking the HIV medication. The claim goes on to say that the manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, was very well aware of these side effects but failed to warn the public and the prescribing doctors about it.
If you have been using Atripla and you believe that you have the grounds for making a claim against the manufacturer, it is good to know that there are litigation attorneys who are willing to advise and help you throughout the process until you get the compensation you deserve. Note that litigation will not take away the burden of your suffering, but it can reduce the financial burden that you have faced, including the pain and suffering you are going through, lost income, and the medical expenses you have incurred to get better from the side effects caused by the defective drug.
An attorney will inform you about the defective drug you have been taking and advise you on how you can protect yourself and other people that might blindly take the same path. You also need a smart litigation attorney that will take you through the process to ensure that your rights are protected and that all your losses are compensated accordingly. You need an attorney that has expertise in handling mass torts and one that understands the debilitating and disruptive nature of Atripla side effects.
Atripla has been associated with kidney and bone injuries, among other issues as listed above on the side effects section. A clinical study that was conducted on humans and animals that were subjected to Tenofovir showed a significant reduction in their bone density. The study reported that the subjects showed weaker and thinner bones in the spine and throughout their bodies. More fragile bones in humans will fracture quickly and easily, even after minor trauma. People who have been taking the medication for a long time are considering filing a lawsuit against Atripla manufacturer after experiencing bones and kidney problems. Some of the commonly reported bone issues include:
- Reduced bone density often called osteopenia
- Bone fractures
The manufacturer is being accused of not warning the members of the public about the side effects. In addition to that, the manufacturer is being sued for the arising issues from kidney complications that are also blamed on the drug. Anyone that has been taking the medication and is experiencing any problems with their kidney function, or have suffered a chronic kidney disease could have a possible claim for reimbursement. A reasonable litigation attorney will be there to represent the injured and protect them from anything that might infringe on their rights.
Joining a Mass Tort
A mass tort is legally defined as a civil action that has many plaintiffs accusing lawfully one or more defendant corporations. Most mass tort claims are based on a defective product or drug that is already on the market and is causing great harm to a high number of consumers. Some instances are usually publicized, but others are never brought to public awareness because of the much pain they cause to the affected people.
A mass tort claim is quite similar to a class-action lawsuit because both involve a high number of plaintiffs and only a few respondents. The only difference is that class actions do not include jury claims, and they only cover one request with mutual characteristics. Mass torts cases, on the other hand, will consist of different grievances against the same respondent or respondents. Most mass tort claims involve injuries that come as a result of using a dangerous or defective drug or product.
A person pursuing a mass tort claim must go through a legal process before they can receive compensation. Here are the main steps in this process:
Record review: it all starts with an attorney examining the statements from all plaintiffs and their medical data to identify the medication and the damages that have resulted from its use. This discovery phase is crucial as it helps your attorney identify the consistency in the injuries and any other factors that might aid in your litigation case.
The injury consistency phase: after going through the records, your attorney would like to compare your injuries with those of other claimants to check for similarity. This is a way of collecting evidence against the defendant. Again, this helps the attorney understand your exact need for compensation.
Filing the claim in a federal court: when it comes to mass tort claims, individual claims are combined to speed up the process and make information gathering easy.
The trial: A few lawsuits will be chosen from the many similar cases to be tried first. This is done as a test for future juries and judges, and the result can be used to determine the outcome of similar cases in the future.
Settlement: note that both parties can agree to negotiate a solution. If this is agreeable for both the defendants and the claimants, then the case may not proceed to trial.
Note that mass tort claims can take a much longer time than a standard personal injury case because it involves multiple claimants. However, they are an excellent tool for petitioners who are willing to pool their resources to fight a common defendant. Unlike a personal injury case, which might speed through the court process in a few weeks or months, a mass tort claim is a little bit complicated. More time is needed to investigate the matter, collect evidence, and prove each plaintiff's injury. This means that it could take years to resolve a single mass tort case.
The amount of time such a case could take is determined by these issues:
- How easy it is for your attorney to locate and depose expert witnesses such as scientists, physicians, marketers, economists, and drug company developers or researchers. It might be necessary to your case if your attorney was able to locate more witnesses.
- The need for you and/or your attorney to travel, especially when required to conduct investigations
- The amount of time it will take to investigate and collect evidence. Note that mass tort claims may not be successful if there is not sufficient evidence to support the claim. The court will want to see such evidence as company documents and medical records, which might take a long time to locate, gather, organize as well as analyze.
Potential Compensation from an Atripla Lawsuit
If the side effects of Atripla have caused you injuries, you might need to contact an HIV litigation attorney, who will discuss the situation with you and help you determine your eligibility for pursuing legal compensation. As mentioned above, there are pending lawsuits against the drug manufacturer already, which claim that the manufacturer deprived its consumers the information about the dangerous effects of its TDF-based medications. The claims also allege that the manufacturer intentionally delayed the manufacturing of a safer and better tenofovir medication until the existing ones are sold out.
If the company is found guilty of any or more of the claims against it, the court may force the manufacturer to compensate the plaintiff for all the monetary and non-monetary injuries they have incurred. Note that the case could be settled out of court or it can be tried before the jury. In any case, the lawsuit will demand compensation for such damages as:
- Claimants' future, current, and past medical expenses
- Any lost wages
- Any loss of earning capacity
- Suffering and pain
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress including anxiety, sleep loss and fear
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Burial and funeral costs in case of a wrongful death
- Interest and legal fees incurred by the plaintiffs
- Punitive damages. These are awarded to punish an offender and discourage similar actions in the future
If you can successfully sue the manufacturer of a defective drug, the lawsuit will not only bring you peace of mind but also ensure that the drugmaker is accountable for their reckless actions and breach of legal responsibility as well as endangering the lives of patients.
Find Consumer Alert Now Near Me
Gilead’s Atripla is a beneficial HIV medication but one that presents so many health complications to patients who are not well informed about its side effects. Therefore, if you or your loved one has suffered injuries or complications as a result of taking this medication, Consumer Alert Now is available to help. We will not only advise you on what to do and the legal process to take but also take you through the process until you get your rightful compensation. Call us at 800-511-0747 today.