What drug will kill people instantly?

Fatal side effects - 20,000 drug victims

from report: Thomas Berndt and Christian Kossin

Introduction

PATRICIA SCHLESINGER:

Around 8,000 people are killed on German roads every year. More than three times as many, namely up to 25,000, die from one of the biggest killers in industrialized countries. A cause of death that statisticians seem to have overlooked for a long time: side effects, more precisely: side effects and drug interactions. As a result, around a million people are admitted to hospitals every year and half of the patients are in acute danger. You have taken harmful, wrong or too many medications.

Thomas Berndt and Christian Kossin report on death from drugs.

COMMENT:

The morgue of the Bremen Central Hospital. A man was admitted here a few weeks ago, apparently a routine case: heart failure. However, when examining tissue samples, coroners discover the real cause of death. You can find traces of Viagra all over the body. The man died apparently not a natural death, but from the side effects of the drug. There are no statistics on how many people die nationwide from drugs, but estimates by experts are alarming.

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PROF. JÜRGEN FRÖLICH:

(Pharmacologist)

"We have to assume that 25,000 patients die every year in Germany from adverse drug reactions and that there are 500,000 serious drug-related adverse effects. The remarkable thing about this is that half of these adverse drug effects are avoidable."

COMMENT:

Saliha Tamer's fate was also avoidable. The 28-year-old went to the doctor with back problems, was given painkillers and fell into a coma a little later. She only came to after six weeks, but nothing was the same as before, part of her brain was destroyed.

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SALIHA TAMER:

(Patient)

"I couldn't do anything on my own anymore. I had to rely on other help, I'm still dependent today. I can't go to the doctor alone, for example. My life has definitely broken down. I can't work, I'm disabled, what else."

INTERVIEWER:

"Can you remember your life before this illness?"

SALIHA TAMER:

"No, not at all. My husband always tells me where we have been and where it is, but I always forget."

COMMENT:

The Tamers have now called on a lawyer and are demanding compensation for pain and suffering. The charge is negligent bodily harm. According to the lawyer, the doctor could and should have found out through a thorough examination that Saliha Tamer could not tolerate this drug.

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WILHELM FUNKE:

(Patient advocate)

"What we hear very often is that patients tell us that the anamnesis was very short, the doctor had little time, so that we suspected that doctors often do not ask enough questions from the patient, often also themselves do not even know the extent of side effects of certain drugs. "

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PROF. JÜRGEN FRÖLICH:

(Pharmacologist)

"That's really the problem. Especially the doctors with the very well-functioning practices who prescribe 400 different drugs, 400. Nobody can have that in their heads. What does they know about each individual drug, they can't do everything Every day there are around 200 printed pages on medicines. I mean, it's the same with me: I go to the computer bank for specific questions and see what's new before I give a judgment. "

COMMENT:

Patients have to trust the doctor, for better or for worse. But only a few doctors research side effects as thoroughly as here in Bremen. Suspicious drugs are immediately withdrawn from the market in the hospital pharmacy, as was the antibiotic Trovan a few days ago. Several patients had died from it in the United States.

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PROF. PETER SCHÖNHÖFER:

(Pharmacologist)

"We currently have a tendency for drugs to be approved so quickly that insufficient safety data are available. And the result is that drugs crash immediately after approval, like the Trovan for example. This is due to the fact that the safety check before approval is inadequate is, and then it goes to the market where nothing is monitored. Then the risk is borne by the patient. "

COMMENT:

Stefan Matera was only able to leave the clinic in Wuppertal a few weeks ago. For him, it wasn't a single drug that made him sick, but a cocktail of antibiotics and strong pain relievers. His family doctor had prescribed the mixture for him against an inflammation of the kidney pelvis. Shortly afterwards, he had a high fever, and his liver and kidneys stopped working. Today he survived almost everything, but he has saved the fateful medication. Memories of a time between life and death.

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STEFEN MATERA:

(Patient)

"The situation was very serious, the situation. The attending doctor and also the professor described that the situation is very serious. We should be ready for anything. To say clearly: I was more outside than inside, or shall we say: more outside than between people. "

COMMENT:

Every year around 300,000 patients like Stefan Matera come to the hospital. Doctors are often at a loss and patients are pumped full of a wide variety of drugs.

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GERD GLAESKE:

(Barmer substitute fund)

"We know that it is above all older people who consult four to five doctors. All of these doctors prescribe something. They are orthopedists, these are general practitioners, internists, gynecologists, urologists - everyone prescribes something from their own point of view. If not at the same time A drug passport also signals which drugs have already been prescribed, and if the doctors are not also competent enough to assess the interactions and side effects, then there are accompanying prescriptions, double prescriptions and prescriptions who do not get along, and precisely these side effects, which then possibly end in hospitalization. "

COMMENT:

But not only prescription drugs have risks, side effects or even interactions. Over-the-counter supplements can also be more dangerous than many think. Supposedly harmless natural products can have fatal effects in combination with painkillers, for example. Example lemon balm spirit.

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GERD GLAESKE:

"Lemon balm spirits are high-percentage mixtures of different active ingredients, for example also from lemon balm, but also from other herbal ingredients, 79 percent alcohol by volume, something that you and I would not normally drink at all - we use this as a medicine, as a sedative , sold as a panacea, and where I actually have the chance due to the high alcohol content, the high chance that, especially in older people who take other drugs, interactions will occur that can be very, very dangerous. "

COMMENT:

Saliha Tamer experienced firsthand how dangerous drugs can be. She no longer trusts a doctor or any medication.

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INTERVIEWER:

"Do you still take any medication, will you see a doctor if you have anything?"

SALIHA TAMER:

"No, I'm scared. If this doctor botched my life, I won't go to any more doctors."

INTERVIEWER:

"Don't you take any more medication either?"

SALIHA TAMER:

"No."

Moderation

PATRICIA SCHLESINGER:

Not only doctors underestimate this risk. More and more people are buying so-called "lifestyle drugs" - pills, drops and ointments for baldness, obesity or varicose veins. It is often forgotten that such drugs also have side effects and interactions. The same applies to drugs that can be ordered over the Internet, without a package insert, without medical advice.