What Should I Do if the Drug I’m Taking Causes Dangerous Side Effects? 

What Should I Do if the Drug I’m Taking Causes Dangerous Side Effects? 
Calendar icon December 20, 2023
What Should I Do if the Drug I’m Taking Causes Dangerous Side Effects? 


  • Dangerous side effects are severe, persistent, unpredictable, and potentially life-threatening.
  • Even FDA-approved drugs may still cause dangerous side effects in some circumstances.
  • Dangerous side effects may occur if drugs are designed, manufactured, labeled, or advertised incorrectly.
  • If you’ve been harmed by a dangerous side effect from a prescription drug, you can recover compensation for your damages.

Most adults in the United States–over 130 million people–take prescription drugs to improve their health. Sometimes, that medication can be a source of harm instead.

While many drug side effects are mild and temporary, others can be more severe or even life-threatening. Dangerous side effects cause over 1 million emergency room visits every year.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a dangerous side effect from a prescription drug, you can take action. Work with an attorney like the team at Cellino Law to hold liable parties accountable and receive compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. 

How to Distinguish Between Regular and Dangerous Side Effects

All medications come with some side effects. Most common side effects are relatively minor and aren’t a cause for alarm. However, some potential side effects can be more dangerous.

Common Side Effects

These side effects will be mild, temporary, predictable, and manageable.

Examples of common side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia

Dangerous Side Effects

Side effects are cause for concern when they’re severe, persistent, unpredictable, or potentially life-threatening. 

Examples of dangerous side effects can include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Organ damage
  • Birth defects
  • Cancer
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hemorrhages 
  • Addiction

Side effects that may not seem dangerous at first may still be a concern if they’re unexpected for the medication you’re taking, more severe than expected, or persist longer than they should.

If you suspect a medication is harming you, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice and take action to protect your health.

Who’s Liable in a Defective Drug Lawsuit?

In a defective drug lawsuit, multiple parties may be held liable depending on the specifics of the case, including drug manufacturers, testing labs, regulatory agencies like the FDA, doctors, or pharmacies.

The specific parties involved will depend on the nature of the defect and the specific circumstances of the case.

There are three types of liability usually cited in defective drug lawsuits:

  • Design defects exist when the inherent nature of a drug makes it unsafe, even if used as intended. This could include unaddressed side effects or dosage problems.
  • Manufacturing defects occur when a drug is contaminated or produced incorrectly.
  • Failure to warn means the manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings of the potential side effects of the drug.

Examples of Defective Drug Lawsuits

While most prescription drugs are safe, pharmaceutical manufacturing is a big enough industry that there have been many examples of defective drug cases over the years. Some well-known examples include:

  • Vioxx: In 2004, Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co. pulled the drug from the market after it was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, resulting in billions awarded in damages.
  • Rezulin: In 2000, Pfizer paid out a $1.2 billion settlement after their drug Rezulin was found to cause severe liver damage.
  • OxyContin: Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller OxyContin, faced widespread litigation for its role in the opioid crisis, paying out over $10 billion in settlements and ultimately filing for bankruptcy.
  • Zoloft: The antidepressant drug Zoloft carries a high risk of suicidal thoughts in young adults, which the drug manufacturer Pfizer was found liable for failing to adequately warn consumers about.
  • Valsartan: Several pharmaceutical companies were sued for contaminating Valsartan with a cancer-causing substance.

Steps to Take if You Believe a Drug to be Defective

If you suspect a drug you’re taking is causing dangerous side effects or is otherwise defective, it’s important to act right away to protect your health and your rights. 

  1. Stop taking the medication right away to prevent further harm.
  2. Seek medical attention to address any symptoms and create a medical record.
  3. Report the side effects to the FDA.
  4. Gather evidence like packaging or receipts.
  5. Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Once you’ve contacted a lawyer, they can advise you on how to proceed from there.

Legal Rights and Protections for Medication Safety in New York 

New York State has strict laws governing medication safety. Article 33 of the New York Public Health Law and other regulations protect New Yorkers from unsafe drug manufacturing and prescribing practices.  

There are even sections specifically governing dangerous side effects, including requirements for manufacturers to provide adequate warnings about the potential risks of taking their medication.

If you believe you’ve suffered dangerous side effects of medications due to the negligence of the manufacturer or another party, working with a personal injury lawyer who knows these laws and regulations can provide a way to hold these negligent parties accountable.

Learn more about dangerous drug lawsuits in New York.

How Cellino Law Can Help You

Cellino Law is a personal injury law firm with a proven track record of holding pharmaceutical companies accountable and securing compensation for our clients. We review medical records and other evidence to create a strong case, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, file your lawsuit, and, if necessary, represent your interests in court.

If you’ve been harmed by a dangerous side effect of a prescription medication, you deserve justice. Contact us online or give us a call at (888) 888-8888 to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to take legal action in New York for drug-related cases?

In New York State, the statute of limitations for most defective drug lawsuits is 3 years from the date of the injury. Consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to ask about your own dangerous side effect case.

Can I sue for a drug side effect even if the drug had FDA approval? 

Yes, even FDA-approved drugs can have serious side effects, and many successful lawsuits have been filed even in cases involving FDA-approved drugs. If you can prove that a manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the risks, you may still have a case.

What qualifies as a “dangerous side effect?” 

A dangerous side effect is one that is serious enough to cause significant harm, such as hospitalization, disability, or even death. 

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.



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