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Women Hurt More By Drugs Now Banned

The Associated Press reported today that more women than men were hurt by 8 out of 10 medications pulled off the market since 1997, according to congressional investigators. These results aren't really a surprise. Many of these medicines were prescribed more to women than to men, including two once wildly popular weight-loss medicines, Redux and Pondimin ("Phen-phen").  What was surprising was that while others were used by both sexes, they were banned for causing an irregular heartbeat that has recently been discovered to be more likely in women than men.

The recent drug bans has drawn criticism that the FDA, under congressional pressure, is approving new medicines too quickly. However, few of the recently banned products actually "sped" through the agency. In some cases, including the weight-loss drugs, rare side effects never seen in pre-sale testing were only seen to cause serious problems after the drugs were used by millions. FDA scientists say the main problem is that doctors ignored or never read warning labels that could have prevented deaths.  Patients should always read the patient information in any new medicine that they take.

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Created: 2/14/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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