August 26, 2014

162017_132140396847214_292624_nA patient at a Philadelphia health center has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the health center, three physicians at the health center, a physician’s assistant employed by the health center, and a pharmacy, accusing each of them of medical negligence in prescribing her a combination of medications that led to her suffering severe and permanent injuries as a result of the contraindicated drug combination.

The woman alleges in her medical malpractice lawsuit that she went to the Philadelphia heath center on July 20, 2011, where she had been a patient since 2007. During her visit, she was given prescriptions by the physician’s assistant for the statin medication Pravachol (statins are prescribed to lower cholesterol level) and the antiviral medications Norvir and Prezista, which are used in the treatment of HIV. All of the prescriptions were signed off by a physician.

The plaintiff alleges that she was not advised regarding the possible drug interaction between her statin drug and her antiviral drugs. She had nine additional visits to the health center between August 2011 and April 2012 during which time her prescription medications did not change and she was never advised to stop taking her medications. Furthermore, one of her refills for Pravachol was mistakenly filled by the defendant pharmacy with the statin medication Simvastatin, according to the woman’s medical negligence lawsuit.

A FDA Drug Safety Communication dated March 1, 2012, warns: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing updated recommendations concerning drug-drug interactions between drugs for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) known as protease inhibitors and certain cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. Protease inhibitors and statins taken together may raise the blood levels of statins and increase the risk for muscle injury (myopathy). The most serious form of myopathy, called rhabdomyolysis, can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal.” Source

The woman alleges that on April 29, 2012, she went to the emergency room because she was unable to walk or bear weight. She was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, allegedly due to her taking a combination of statin drugs and antiviral medications. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle tissue that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood that are harmful to the kidney and often cause kidney damage (when muscle is damaged, a protein called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream that is filtered out of the body by the kidneys – myoglobin breaks down into substances that can damage kidney cells). The prognosis depends on the amount of damage to the kidneys. Acute kidney failure occurs in many patients. Getting treated soon after rhabdomyolysis begins reduces the risk of permanent kidney damage. Source


If you have been injured due to a medication error and/or due to medical negligence in the Philadelphia area or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly seek to consult with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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