January 26, 2015 — The Alzheimer’s drug Aricept has been linked to two rare but serious, life-threatening side effects: rhabdomyolysis and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).
Aricept is manufactured by Pfizer and it is approved for the treatment of dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Health Canada ordered drug-makers to add these side effects to the prescribing information, and issued a Safety Communication to warn:
“Rhabdomyolysis and NMS were reported to occur independently in association with donepezil use; however rhabdomyolysis may be the result of complications of NMS. Rhabdomyolysis was most often reported to occur when donepezil therapy was started or the dose increased.”
Rhabdomyolysis is a side effect of many other medications, and the risk may be higher for patients who are taking Aricept with statins (Lipitor, Zocor, etc.), antipsychotics (Zyprexa, Risperdal, etc.), and antidepressants in the SSRI or SNRI class (Prozac, Effexor, etc.).
Rhabdomyolysis is a disease that occurs when muscle fibers break down and release a protein into the bloodstream. This protein is too large to be filtered through the kidneys, which can cause kidney failure. Signs of rhabdomyolysis may include fever, muscle or joint pain, weakness, nausea, and dark (tea-like) urine.
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a neurological disorder that is caused by chemical disorders, usually as a result of taking a medication. Signs of NMS may include high fever, muscle stiffness or rigidity, mental changes including delirium and agitation, and irregular heartbeat and pulse.
Do I have a Drug Injury Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective drug induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by rhabdomyolysis or neuroleptic malignant syndrome, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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