Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Drug Policy, Bendectin, and Frivolous Litigation

I was reading this article on the FDA's increasing sensitivity to safety concerns (via Instapundit) and I couldn't help myself. My version of the article's conclusion:

If America's [reproductive-age] population is to get the new [or any] drugs it needs, policy makers must make decisions based on data, and resist speculation and public pronouncements by special interests.

Of course, my position is that policy makers shouldn't make any drug-related decisions, period, but it's good to see wide support for science-based policy, and noninterference in medical matters by special interest groups. Oh, wait, my mistake! This only applies when it comes to America's aging population [and a few select other populations, *cough* males *cough*].

One thing of note from the article is the mention of Bendectin. Although the drug was long off the market when I started out, I must say, every single time I heard an attending who'd used Bendectin talk about it, it was in glowing terms. No wonder, considering what happened after its withdrawal:

The most widely prescribed drug for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), Bendectin, was voluntarily withdrawn from the US market in 1982, after numerous, unsuccessful lawsuits alleged it had caused birth defects.

After its withdrawal, hospitalization rates for NVP doubled while solid evidence of Bendectin'’s safety continued to accumulate.

Here's more on the Bendectin story, and the treatment of NVP, in general.

And since we're on the subject of NVP, I cannot emphasis this strongly enough: nausea and vomiting are NOT an inevitable part of the pregnancy experience. Please don't feel like you have to suffer in silence. Untreated, this condition gets worst before it ever gets better. And for some it can get quite bad, indeed. Hospitalization and parenteral nutrition while pregnant are truly miserable experiences. Please talk to your physician and ask for treatment!

Last, but not least, no mention of Bendectin would be complete without a lawyerly perspective.


At 1:25 AM, Blogger ask4inspiration said...

For some reason, today I thought of the drug Bendectin after 41 years and decided to google it. This was a medication I was given in 1968 for " morning sickness" early on in my pregnancy. My baby was born 3 weeks early
with multiple congenital anomalies including polydactyly, enlarged kidneys, missing left ventricle of the heart, only one dwarfed lung, bowel malrotation, fetal hydrops, low set ears, and facial deformities .he lived one hour. this was my first baby and I was 19 years old. I subsequently had three
normal healthy full term pregnancies, the last at age 45.
After googling this drug I see that Merck spent $100,000.00
Combating lawsuits, and decided to withdraw the drug. Just today there was an article published on how they are trying to reintroduce this onto the US market. I would hate to think this devastating experience could happen again to an unsuspecting new mother. I had never pursued anything related to this prior to today because I had a healthy baby one year and one week after my first heartbreak. Now with the information age, I google whatever comes to mind. I wonder how many
Other women had similar experiences. I am now convinced that this drug caused myterribleisfprtune.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i also took bendectine during the early stage of my pregnancy. my daughter was born perfectly normal. she graduated from unc chapel hill with honors. she is now 36 with two children who are also normal and very intelligent too. i am sorry for your loss but the drug did not effect my normal exactly on due date birth.

At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry for your loss, and the agony you went through, Andrea, but Bendectin was not the culprit.. I took Bendectin for a full 8 months during my first pregnancy and my baby was 2 weeks overdue! He was perfectly healthy. I went on to have 3 more pregnancies in which I took those wonderful little white pills. Each one was healthy and resulted in a perfectly healthy baby. Except for minor childhood illnesses, they were healthy kids.. I hope they bring them back so that other women won't be as miserable as I was before I started taking them! They are wonderful.. not evil!

At 9:40 PM, Blogger FactsWanted said...

I took Bendectin for a short time in 1983. It was taken off the market while I was taking it and no one ever followed up with us to monitor any issues. My son went full term was born in the last day of 1983. He had surgery in Feb 1984 for pyloric stenosis. He has had other issues and I'd like to know the facts about the potential effects or connection with Bendectin.

At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Janet Michaels said...

I took Bendectine for all three of my pregnancies (1973, 1976 and 1980). My doctor did not want to give me the drug for my third pregnancy because he said that they are finding out that some daughters of mothers that took bendectine were having fertility problems. Never gave it another thought until 4 years ago when both my daughters have fertility problems and suffer from the same problem. For my thrid pregnancy the vomitting was so bad that the possible future problem was put aside because the dehydration was
a greater problem.

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother took benedctin in 1979 with me now I have anxity panic attacks depression and only one kidney is the drug the reason please help me healinheart00@gmail.com thsnk you god bless

At 1:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son was born with diaphragmatic hernia and died the same day in 1974. I didn't know about the possibility that the drug had caused it until I came across an old article stating that Rep. Doug Walgren wanted the drug off the market because of the birth defects of dia. hernia. I took Bendectin when I was only 3 weeks along during that pregnancy. My first two children had no problems but I didn't take it until I was 2 months along with them. I'm horrified now that I know how bad this drug is and it is being put back on the market which I found out when I had the courage to look on line about the possibiliy. It devastated my family by depriving us of our beautiful boy. With my next pregnancy I didn't even take Tylenol; I suffered through migraines and nausea out of fear even though I knew nothing about the Bendectin link thenin 1979.

At 5:17 AM, Anonymous Diane Krupa said...

My 1st baby was born 7 weeks early and lived only 12 hours. I was a very young and healthy 22 year old when this happened, so was my husband. There was no family history of medical or genetic problems, I didnt smoke, drink, or do drugs of any kind. He, my son was born with a long list of horrible problems. An enlarged penis, very small, unformed kidneys just to name a few. My husband and I were told to go to genetic counseling which proved no reason for this to happen to us. We went on to have 3 healthy, normal daughters. I never knew why this terrible thing had happened to us w my 1st baby. Then a few months ago I started hearing about the drug- bendectin, and its horrible effects!!! No-one ever told me about this drug and its possible, horrible, side effects. My 1st baby was born in 1981, and my Dr, had prescribed this drug to me for morning sickness early in the pregnancy, which I had taken several times. Needless to say I didnt take the drug w my 3 other pregnancies and my 3 daughters are fine. I didnt know anything bad at all about this drug, is there anything that I can do about this? I need to know.


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