Study on COPD Drugs Linked to Serious Side Effects: Spiriva

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition that tends to affect smokers or people who used to be habitual smokers, and it’s a disease that’s unfortunately prevalent in the United States.  Estimates show that approximately 24 million people suffer from COPD, and additional estimates indicate that up to 100,000 people in the United States alone are killed by COPD every year.

As is almost always the case when a disease takes hold of the public, drug companies get right to work on coming up with medications to help treat the condition, and that was certainly the case with COPD.  Two drugs above all others have been most prominent on the marketplace in recent years, and they are known as Spiriva and Atrovent, and each drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the American market in 2002.

The drugs were extremely popular given their initially promising results, and 8 million people around the world either are using or have used Spiriva and/or Atrovent.  The drugs are administered as inhalants, and each provides the patient with immediate relief from difficulty in breathing, which is the most common symptom of COPD.

COPD is a progressive disease that attacks the patient’s lungs and eventually removes the ability to breathe.  Patients tend to die of several causes, but almost all of them can be traced back to the underlying condition of not having enough oxygen flowing through the respiratory system.  As of now, there is no known cure for COPD, but as said, these medications proved to be useful in treating the symptoms.

Warnings on Spiriva and Atrovent

Unfortunately, as is the case with many drugs, a study that was performed recently that cast out an enormous warning sign in regards to the use of Spiriva and Atrovent.  The study was performed as a meta-study, which is a compilation of several smaller studies, by researchers at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

The results were quite troubling.  Statistical results showed that of the 15,000 patients who used these medications for 30 days, the half that used the active medications showed a much higher risk for death by way of cardiovascular events than the half that used a placebo.  Specifically, using Spiriva and Atrovent exposed patients to 53 percent higher risk for heart attacks, 80 percent for cardiovascular death and 46 percent for strokes.

Your Next Steps:

If you or someone you love has used these medications and suffered as a result, you need to contact a defective drugs lawyer as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.  You could have legal rights that need to be pursued, but you’ll need the advice of an experienced attorney to obtain the information you need to make a sound decision.  Contact an attorney today.

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Warnings on the side effects of Spiriva and Atrovent updated 3/06/2013.