Defective Drugs and Medical Devices Glossary


Learn more about defective drugs and medical devices in the extensive glossary below.

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Accolate®: A market name for Zafirlukast for maintenance treatment of asthma in conjunction with a steroid inhaler. Accolate® may cause liver dysfunction, particularly in females.

Accutane®: The market brand for the medication isotretinoin used to treat severe acne. Accutane® has a range of side effects, from common minor effects like dry skin, to serious side effects, including birth defects.

Androstenedione (Andro): A steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands, famously used as a dietary supplement by athletes including Mark McGwire, though no evidence has supported claims that it is an alternative to anabolic steroids. Lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers, claiming that marketing claims were misleading.

Arava®: The trade name of the drug leflunomide, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. According to studies published, Arava® may cause liver damage, including jaundice, hepatitis and cirrhosis, and blood disorders like anemia and thrombocytopenia.

Avandia: An antidiabetic drug marketed by GlaxoSmithKline. The FDA issued an alert involving users experiencing an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

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Baxter dialysis filter: A medical device manufactured by Baxter International, Inc. that filters toxins out of the blood of patients whose kidneys have failed. Reports of deaths in Spain and Croatia led to the recall of the dialysis filters; later studies suggested that perfluorohydrocarbon, a chemical used in the filters' manufacture, may have been responsible for patient deaths.

Baycol®: A statin medication manufactured by Bayer that goes under the generic name cerivastatin and is used to lower cholesterol. Bayer voluntarily recalled the drug after it had been found to cause rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to kidney failure and sometimes death.

Bayer: A German pharmaceutical company renowned for its name-brand aspirin that has manufactured Baycol®.

Bextra®: A trade name for the medication valdecoxib, available from Pfizer from 2001-2005. Pfizer recalled the drug when it was associated along with other NSAIDs with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

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Celebrex®: A trade name for the NSAID celecoxib, used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Celebrex® received some controversial press after claims that it might behave similarly to another NSAID pulled from the market, Vioxx®. Side effects of Celebrex® include stomach bleeding and liver damage.

Cisapride®: A heartburn medication that has been linked with cardiac arrhythmia. The FDA issued warnings and marketing was halted on Cisapride® in 2000.

Colchicine®: An anti-inflammatory drug used to treat severe gout. Links have been reported to bone marrow suppression and anemia, and the manufacturer recalled several batches in 2000 due to increased dosage errors in them.

Cox-2 inhibitor: A type of NSAID that targets Cox-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain. Types of Cox-2 inhibitors include Bextra® and Celebrex®.

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Diethylstilbestrol(DES): Diethylstilbestrol is a synthetic oral estrogen supplement that used to be prescribed to women before studies found that it is a teratogen, or drug that causes malformations of an embryo or fetus. Daughters of women prescribed DES were known to develop vaginal and cervical cancer, and children of both sexes saw increases of developmental disorders including premature birth, cerebral palsy and blindness.

Dexatrim®: A dietary supplement meant to assist in weight loss. Past formulae of Dexatrim® has included ephedra and phenylpropanolamine.

Duract®: A discontinued NSAID marketed by Wyeth, Duract® was recalled for links to liver failure.

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Enbrel®: The trade name for etanercept, a drug used to treat autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Potentially serious side effects from using Enbrel® are severe sinus and respiratory infections, as well as rare cases of congestive heart failure.

Ephedra: An herbal supplement used in ancient medicine to treat a variety of illnesses, in modern times ephedra (and its primary component ephedrine) has been used in over-the-counter dietary supplements, especially for medications treating asthma and for weight-loss. Ephedrine has been connected with adverse side effects, including heart attack, stroke, seizures, psychosis and death. The FDA banned ephedra-containing supplements in 2004.

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Fen-Phen: An anti-obesity medication consisting of two drugs: fenfluramine and phentermine. The FDA demanded a recall of the drug after as many as 30% of patients were shown to exhibit valvular abnormalities in the heart.

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GlaxoSmithKline: A British pharmaceutical and healthcare company that manufactures the drugs Avandia®, Lamictal®, Lotronex® and Relenza®.

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Heparin: A general name for any of a number of injectable anti-coagulants used for a variety of illnesses and diseases, from arthritis to cancer to asthma to inflammatory bowel disease. A commercial version marketed by Baxter International was recalled in January 2008 at the urging of the FDA due to concerns over contamination in batches of the drugs, which were manufactured in China.

Herceptin®: The trade name for trastuzumab, which is a drug for breast cancer patients taken to assist in the regulation of cell growth. However, fatal reactions to the drug were seen in patients due to cardiac dysfunction.

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Lamictal®: A drug for epilepsy treatment marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, reportedly involved in dispensing errors from the similarity of its name to Lamisil®, a fungus antibiotic.

Lamisil®: A toenail fungus antibiotic reportedly involved in dispensing errors with the epilepsy drug Lamictal®.

Lotronex®: A drug used to treat irritable bowel syndrome in women. GlaxoSmithKline recalled Lotronex® after reports of ischemic colitis, abdominal pain, severe constipation leading in some cases to death.

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Materna®: A prenatal vitamin, accidentally confused with the cancer medication Matulane® and given to a patient by a Walgreens pharmacist in a famous personal injury case that led to the death of the patient.

Matulane®: A medication used to treat Hodgkin's disease and cancer, confused with the prenatal vitamin Materna® by a Walgreens pharmacist in a famous personal injury case that led to the death of a patient.

Mellaril®: The trade name for thioridazine, a drug used in the treatment of psychosis and schizophrenia. Mellaril® has been less prescribed over fears of its association with cardiotoxicity and damage to the retina of the eye.

Merck: The largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Merck manufactures and markets Vioxx® and Vytorin®.

Meridia®: The trade name for sibutramine, an orally-administered obesity drug that has been associated with adverse cardiovascular effects and, in some instances, death. The FDA has not banned sale of the drug, despite many claims made to it about Meridia®.

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Nevirapine: A drug that treats HIV-positive adults who exhibit immunological deterioration. Nevirapine has been found to contribute to hepatotoxicity or liver failure; when combined with other drugs in the treatment of HIV, the amount of nevirapine in the bloodstream may be changed, causing wrong dosages.

Norplant®: A contraceptive device that is implanted permanently in the patient. Wyeth recalled Norplant® after a rash of bad press and reports of conception, as well as side effects such as irregular and excessive bleeding, infection, migraine headaches, and breast abnormalities.

NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs have been linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke in users. Examples of NSAIDs are Vioxx®, Duract® and Bextra®.

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Ortho Evra®: The only contraceptive medication in the form of a patch to be worn on the skin. Ortho Evra® has been associated with strokes and thrombosis.

Oxycontin®: A time-release version of oxycodone, commonly used as a pain medication in such drugs as Percocet, Tylox and Percodan. Purdue Pharma settled lawsuits with 26 states and the District of Columbia over marketing of Oxycontin®; the company's recommended dosage instructions to doctors were more frequent than those recommended by the FDA.

Further, Oxycontin® has been sued by Kentucky counties for failing to disclose its addictiveness, which was responsible for a rash of addictive episodes that filled rehab clinics in the state. For this reason, the drug has been called "hillbilly heroin."

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Paxil®: An antidepressant commonly known as paroxetine, which has faced lawsuits for side effects including suicidal ideation and withdrawal syndrome.

Percocet®: A pain relieving drug made from oxycodone and acetaminophen, which, like the similar drug Oxycontin®, has been known to be used by recreational drug users.

Percodan®: A pain relieving drug made from oxycodone and aspirin. Like Oxycontin®, Percodan® has been known to be used by recreational drug users, and is regulated as a controlled substance by the government.

Pfizer: A New York City pharmaceutical company which manufactures and markets Bextra®, Celebrex® and Viagra®.

Phenylpropanolamine(PPA): A decongestant and appetite suppressant drug often found in over-the-counter cold medicines and weight loss drugs. PPA was recalled by the FDA after links to hemorrhagic stroke were reported in women.

Premarin®: An estrogen drug manufactured by Wyeth consisting of extract from pregnant mares' urine. Animal rights activists have protested the treatment of animals at farms that extract the substances used in Premarin®.

Prempro®: A hormone replacement drug made of estrogen and progestin that treats symptoms of menopause. A study revealed that using Prempro® increases the risk of breast cancer.

Propulsid®: A prescription heartburn medication also known as cisapride. Consumers were alerted to potential arrhythmia abnormalities in users of Propulsid® in a notice issued by the FDA.

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Relenza®: Trade name for zanamivir marketed by GlaxoSmithKline and used to treat influenza. The FDA issued a Public Health Advisory over reported respiratory problems with Relenza® in patients with asthma or other chronic respiratory difficulties.

Rezulin®: The market name for troglitazone, an antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Rezulin® was taken off the US market in 2000 for inducing hepatitis in users.

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Serentil®: The brand name of mesoridazine, used for treatment of schizophrenia. Serentil® has been linked to heart arrhythmias with possible death.

Serzone®: A Bristol Meyers-Squibb trade name for nefazodone hydrochloride, an antidepressant. Serzone® has been banned in Canada because of links to liver failure and death, though the FDA has not ordered its recall in the United States.

Simulect®: An immunosuppressant drug commonly known as basiliximab and used in kidney transplantation to aid in fighting against rejection of the kidney by the body. Despite its FDA approval, a study found that Simulect® put patients at a risk three times greater of acute kidney rejection than other immunosuppressant drugs.

Sulzer artificial joints: Sulzer Orthopedics issued recalls and settled lawsuits over its Inter-Op artificial hip and knee joints, which were found to be defective due to a mineral residue.

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Tasmar®: A drug used with medication for Parkinson's disease such as carbidopa or levodopa to make these medications last longer. The FDA issued a warning of hepatoxicity associated with Tasmar®.

Thalidomide: Medication used in the late 50s and early 60s as a sleep aid and morning sickness drug during pregnancy, which was recalled for this use after it contributed to thousands of birth defects.

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Vaccine Court: Another name for the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims which litigates vaccine injury claims. Several high-profile cases have gone to trial in recent years in the vaccine court involving a potential link between autism and the mercury-based preservative in vaccines called thiomersal or thimerosal, despite no medical consensus establishing such a link.

Viagra®: A trade named for sildenafil citrate, a drug used to treat males with erectile dysfunction. The FDA issued warnings that patients taking Viagra® experience a systemic decrease in blood pressure, as well as possible heart attack and hypertension. Some patients experience priapism, which is a painful, prolonged erection lasting at least four hours.

Vioxx®: The marketed brand name for rofecoxib, an anti-inflammatory drug that treats osteoarthritis and other acute pain conditions. The maker of Vioxx®, Merck, recalled the drug after reports of long-term usage leading to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Merck recently settled thousands of lawsuits over Vioxx® for $4.85 billion.

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Wyeth: A drug manufacturer whose product line includes Enbrel®, Duract®, Norplant® and Prempro®.

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Zyprexa®: A brand name of the antipsychotic medication olanzapine, used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental disorders. Reports and lawsuits have linked Zyprexa® to diabetes and stroke.

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