What is Gout?
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis which affects some, but not all, people with high uric acid levels in their bloodstreams. These acids sometimes cause crystals resembling needles in joints, which can lead to sudden and severe pain, along with swelling, tenderness, redness, and warm sensations.
There are a few different stages of gout:
This is a period that occurs before the first gout attack, which is devoid of symptoms. This period is characterized by high blood uric acid levels and this is when the crystals begin to form in joints.
Hyperuricemia is what eventually leads to gout.
Acute Gout (AKA Gout Attack)
This stage occurs when an outside influence (such as a night of heavy drinking) prompts uric acid levels to suddenly spike or disturbs crystals that have already formed into a joint, leading to a gout attack. This can lead to pain and inflammation, usually at night, and which progressively gets worse over the next 8-12 hours.
Eventually, these symptoms will start to fade after a few days and usually disappear in 7-10 days. Approximately 60% of people who have one gout attack will have a second one within the next year and 84% will suffer a second attack within a 3-year period.
As the name suggests, interval gout is the period between gout attacks. There is no pain during these intervals, however, the gout is still present. There may be low-level inflammation occurring which can damage joints, even if the person suffering from gout doesn’t notice the inflammation.
These intervals provide an opportunity to manage gout through the use of medication and lifestyle changes, which can help prevent future attacks or chronic gout.
Chronic gout develops when uric acid levels stay high over several years. When this happens, attacks become more common and the pain can become chronic instead of going away the way it did in previous stages. During this stage, joint damage and loss of mobility can occur.
Side Effects of Uloric
Uloric has many side effects which vary in severity. Some of the relatively minor side effects of this medication include:
- Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
- Skin rash
Uloric has also been linked to more serious side effects, which can even be fatal. These may include:
- Cardiovascular problems including heart attacks and strokes
- Shortness of breath
- General weakness
- Numbness in extremities
- Abnormalities in liver enzymes
Can Uloric Cause Heart Attacks & Cardiovascular Deaths?
Uloric was approved to be sold on the market in 2009. However, this approval only happened following two previous failures in 2005 and 2006. Before the approval could be issued, the FDA required the manufacturer, Takeda, to complete a postmarket safety clinical trial.
The results of this trial were concerning. 6,000 gout patients were treated with either Uloric or another gout drug called allopurinol. According to the results of the trial, the patients who took Uloric had a higher risk of cardiovascular death, non-fatal heart attacks, non-fatal strokes, and issues with inadequate blood supply to the heart resulting in the need for urgent surgery.
The FDA received the full trial report in 2018. After spending several months reviewing the results, the administration decided to update the safety warning with the black box warning mentioned above. This is the most serious warning that can be issued for medications.
In spite of these concerning results, Uloric has remained on the market.
Whistleblower Files Lawsuit Against Uloric
In 2012, a former employee of Takeda filed a whistleblower lawsuit against their employer, alleging that the company was aware of dangers posed by Uloric but failed to make this knowledge public.
The lawsuit claimed that Tekada knew that Uloric could have fatal side effects if it was taken with methadone or the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug azathioprine (commonly known by brand names Imuran or Azapress).
According to the employee who filed this lawsuit, Takeda was aware that Uloric could cause failures in the kidneys and bone marrow.
The lawsuit went on to claim that Takeda went as far as to hide evidence of these potential safety issues from the public in order to protect the company’s profits.
This lawsuit was dismissed because of procedural issues. However, the U.S. Department of Justice publicly opposed the dismissal.
Lawsuits For Uloric Heart Attack Sufferers and Their Families
Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Uloric, has come under fire for allegedly failing to warn their patients about the risks of severe or fatal heart conditions potentially brought on by the use of this medication.
Even though this drug has been on the market for a decade, the risks were only made public in February of 2019. Furthermore, this warning was only added to the packaging after the FDA forced the company’s hand.
Drug manufacturers have a legal duty to make sure the individuals who take their drugs are aware of all of the risks associated with the use of the medication. Failure to do so can endanger the lives of those who take the medication.
If you or someone you love has recently suffered a heart attack, stroke, or another cardiovascular health problem after taking Uloric, you may have grounds for a defective drug lawsuit.
Why Should I File a Defective Drug Lawsuit?
When drug companies fail to properly warn their customers of dangerous side effects, customers and their families suffer. This suffering is not only emotional and physical, but financial as well. Negligent drug manufacturers deserve to be held accountable for all of the difficulties they have caused their customers and these customers deserve justice and financial support.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Defective Drug Lawsuit?
Taking legal action by filing a defective drug lawsuit can help provide financial relief for a variety of damages caused by defective drugs, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages from missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium for families of people who die from defective drugs
What If I Can’t Afford to Hire a Lawyer?
Our attorneys understand the difficulties families face after suffering from health problems caused by defective drugs. That’s why we offer free consultations, where you can gain a better sense of your legal options and whether or not you have a case with no financial commitment.
Additionally, our attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that you only pay us if we help you secure financial compensation by winning your lawsuit or securing a settlement. Once you’ve received your money, your attorney fees will be paid as a percentage of your verdict or settlement.
If your family has been affected by health complications brought on by the use of Uloric, our attorneys would be happy to help you learn more about your legal options in a free consultation.