Digitek is also known as digoxin, and it is originally derived from the digitalis plant. The plant has been used for centuries, and its use traces back to the 18th Century, when it was used for a variety of medical conditions. However, over time, many of these ‘traditional’ uses turned out to be of no value. However, Digitek in its current form did have use in the medical community.
Digitek was prescribed to help patients deal with different heart problems, and it was administered both in pill and injection form. There were three specific conditions for which Digitek was used, and they are as follows:
- Irregular heartbeat, which is also known as atrial fibrillation
- A faster than normal heartbeat, which is also known as an atrial flutter
- Congestive heart failure after other medications have not succeeded with treatment
The active ingredients in Digitek would release hormones into the patient’s system that would help to restore the heartbeat to a normal rate. It was also found that Digitek helped to strengthen the overall function of the patient’s heart.
Digitek was originally approved by the FDA for treatment of the heart conditions mentioned above, and it’s a member of a class of drugs known as cardiac glycosides. These medications work by affecting sodium and potassium inside the heart’s cells. This process reduces the constant strain on a troubled hear and restores it to normal working order.
There have actually been two sets of reports of side effects associated with Digitek. The first set was a result of the use of ‘normal’ doses of Digitek, but none were seen as severe enough to prompt any sort of regulatory action. These side effects included:
- Abdominal pain
- Intestinal problems
- Intestinal problems
However, it wasn’t long before much more serious reports of side effects began to surface. These side effects included:
- Cardiac instability
- Dangerously low blood pressure
- Abnormally slow heartbeat
After an investigation, it was discovered that the reason for these side effects, which could be deadly in some cases, arose because of an egregious manufacturing defect. This defect occurred in a sub-contracted manufacturing lab, although it was seen as the responsibility of Actavis Totowa, the manufacturer of Digitek.
Specifically, the problem arose when several lots of Digitek pills emerged with twice their normal thickness, which resulted in patients unknowingly taking doses that were twice as strong as they thought. This led to a situation of immediate danger.
Ultimately, in April of 2008 and with the news of the dangerous pills exposed to many, Actavis Totowa decided to voluntarily initiate a recall of Digitek. The FDA assisted with the publicity of the decision, and since then lawsuits have arisen all over the United States on behalf of people who have been harmed as a result of using Digitek and taking defective pills.
Prior to the recall, those patients with preexisting conditions including ventricular fibrillation, which is another term for a dangerously irregular heartbeat. Additionally, any patients with a history of negative reactions to related medications were seen as being unable to effectively use Digitek.
What if I still have Digitek pills in my cabinet?
If you are still using Digitek pills, you should contact your doctor immediately to schedule a medical evaluation as soon as possible. While it may not be advisable to simply stop taking heart medication, if you possess defective pills you could be at risk. If you have sustained an injury because of your Digitek use, keep your prescriptions and pills for use by your Digitek attorney.
Why were Digitek pills defective?
There is no clear answer to this question. Regardless of the specifics, the pills at issue were extremely dangerous given their double density and intensity, and it was seen as more prudent to simply take the steps taken to prevent further injuries.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Digitek?
Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Digitek, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Digitek lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.