Diabetes is a disease affecting more than 20.8 million American adults and children. It affects the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin, a hormone needed by the body to control blood sugar levels. Insulin converts sugar, starches and food into the energy needed for everyday life. The body’s inability to regulate blood sugar levels is called hypoglycemia (high blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (low blood sugar). Several factors are known to cause diabetes including genetics, obesity and lack of exercise. Also, the prescription drugs Seroquel and Tequin are known to cause diabetes.
If left untreated diabetes can cause serious health problems, including death. Drug companies who manufacture drugs that cause diabetes may not have fully informed physicians and patients about this dangerous side effect. Drug companies may be required to compensate individuals who have become afflicted with diabetes because of their drugs. If you have become diabetic due to a drug side effect, you should contact an attorney to learn about your legal rights and the possibility of compensation.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes affects more than 1.7 million people in America, and is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Diabetics possess a genetic predisposition to the disease which is usually triggered by an environmental component, such as a virus. When the activated trigger and genetic predisposition are combined, the body begins destroying its Beta cells. Beta cells create insulin in the pancreas, and if more than 90% of them are destroyed, the body can no longer regulate blood sugar levels. When this happens, an individual will begin experiencing diabetic symptoms.
Type 1 diabetes is treated by closely monitoring your blood sugar levels and administering daily injections of insulin. To date, oral insulin is not effective in controlling Type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It affects more than 16 million Americans and is often referred to as Adult Onset Diabetes. Type 2 diabetic patients produce insufficient amounts of insulin or their cells become insensitive to insulin. In either case, the body no longer has the ability to properly process insulin.
Type 2 diabetes occurs in adulthood and is typically related to obesity or overeating. During Type 2 diabetes the body becomes resistant to insulin and less sugar (glucose) can be converted into energy. The pancreas then overcompensates and creates more insulin in order to convert more glucose into energy. Over a long period of time, blood sugars increase throughout the body and this causes damage to blood vessels and major organs.
People can control their Type 2 diabetes by limiting the sugar in the blood, through watching their diets and/or exercise. However, over time a majority of people with Type 2 diabetes will not be able to control the disease through these methods. There are medications available that can help with the symptoms and insulin injections are always an option to be explored.
Ketoacidosis and Diabetic Coma
Ketoacidosis, a medical condition caused by increased levels of ketones in the bloodstream, occurs more commonly in Type 1 diabetes. Ketones are acids that accumulate in the blood and appear when the body does not have enough insulin. The presence of ketones indicates that the glucose levels are out of control and the body is burning fat to generate energy. Moderate to large amounts of keytones in the urine can be hazardous, and untreated ketoacidosis can lead to severe illness and possibly a diabetic coma.
A diabetic coma is a state of unconsciousness caused by exceedingly high or low blood sugar levels. A person in a diabetic coma is still breathing but is in a profound state of unconsciousness and cannot be aroused by stimuli. A diabetic coma can lead to sustained brain damage or even death.
Drug Side Effects that can Cause Diabetes
Two prescription drugs have been known to increase the risk of developing diabetes. Bristol-Myers Squibb manufactures a prescription medication called Tequin, which is an antibiotic used to treat respiratory tract infections, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Tequin causes hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in some patients. Both of these conditions are symptoms of diabetes. Bristol-Myers Squibb voluntarily ceased manufacturing Tequin, but has not halted the distribution of product already manufactured.
Another prescription drug that creates an increased risk of diabetes is Seroquel. Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic drug manufactured and distributed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. It is widely used for the treatment of schizophrenia and the manic aspect of bipolar disorder. Other uses for Seroquel include treating post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and obsessive compulsive disorder. Patients who are taking Seroquel should be closely monitored by their doctors for any warning signs of diabetes.
Users of Tequin or Seroquel who have become afflicted with diabetes should contact a lawyer to determine if they are entitled to compensation. Since the pharmaceutical companies did not fully warn doctors about the dangers of their drugs and/or remove the drug from the market, they can be held liable if a drug user has become ill or injured. Untreated diabetes can occur in patients taking these defective drugs and can lead to serious consequences, including a higher risk of heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputation, ketoacidosis or a diabetic coma.
Physicians and patients may not have been fully informed by the pharmaceutical companies about the hazardous side effects of their defect drugs. If you have become afflicted with diabetes due to a drug side effect, contact the defective drug lawyers of AWKO Law at (888) 255-2956 to learn about your legal rights.