If you’ve ever read a drug label, you know that most medications have side effects – at least in rare cases. But what happens when a drug is designed in a way that causes serious side effects in nearly half the people who take it?
Recent studies have found that the drug Injectafer – an injectable treatment for Iron Deficiency Anemia – does just that. By design, Injectafer boosts iron levels to combat Iron Deficiency Anemia. The problem is that Injectafer also eliminates phosphorus from the body. This flaw in the drug’s design can cause hypophosphatemia or HPP, a potentially serious disease. If left untreated, HPP can lead to destruction of bone material, muscle deterioration and even heart and lung failure.
Most people taking Injectafer are not aware they have HPP because the symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle weakness, are similar to anemia – the very symptoms that Injectafer is supposed to alleviate.
The attorneys at Johnson Johnson Lucas Middleton want to make the public aware of the dangers of Injectafer, especially because a simple phosphate test can diagnose HPP, and there are safer alternatives to treat Iron Deficiency Anemia.
Background on Iron Deficiency Anemia and Injectafer
Iron Deficiency Anemia is caused by a shortage of iron and red blood cells in the bloodstream. The shortage keeps the body from being able to transport oxygen to organs and tissues, resulting in severe fatigue and shortness of breath.
People diagnosed with anemia typically take oral iron supplements to increase their iron levels. But for those who can’t tolerate iron pills, intravenous iron medicine is popular because it works quicker, doesn’t upset the stomach and allows patients to take the drug less frequently.
But unlike other injectable iron supplements, Injectafer strips the body of phosphorus – an essential mineral our bodies need for growth and repair of healthy cells and tissues. This is not a rare side effect – it is a serious flaw in the drug’s design.
A recent clinical study showed that Injectafer caused HPP in nearly half the people who took it. In fact, Injectafer is about 200 times more likely to cause HPP than other intravenous iron medications, according to the study.
In its mildest form, HPP can be treated, however, it’s also difficult to diagnose early because its symptoms are so similar to those of anemia. Severe HPP is much harder to treat, as phosphorus replacement drugs come with uncomfortable side effects. In addition, it can take several months for the body’s phosphorus levels to return to normal.
In rare instances, chronic, severe HPP can be fatal, potentially causing seizures, muscle paralysis, bone degeneration, cardiac arrest and respiratory failure.
Unfortunately, the makers of Injectafer do not warn that HPP is a common risk, leaving both doctors and patients in the dark about the dangers of this drug. People who have taken Injectafer should contact their doctor and ask for a simple blood test to check for phosphate levels.
Johnson Johnson Lucas Middleton asks for your help to build public awareness of the health risks of Injectafer.
If you or someone you know has taken Injectafer for iron deficiency anemia and continues to suffer from fatigue or muscle weakness, contact the attorneys at Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton for legal advice. We represent patients who have suffered serious illness from Injectafer.