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Rare but deadly side effects

February 7, 2005 - My husband took Lamisil to treat toenail fungus. The fine print for this prescription drug noted that it might cause neutropenia. For my husband, it did. This led to MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), which was followed by AML (acute myeloid leukemia) and his subsequent death.

He had suffered with periodic flare-ups of toenail fungus and athlete's foot for most of his life. Neither of these conditions was life-threatening.

Please tell your readers that even though the possibly serious side effects mentioned by drug companies might affect only 1% of users, they could be in that 1%. Ask if it is worth that chance.

We are so sorry to hear of your husband's tragic death. Doctors don't always mention unusual but potentially life-threatening reactions.

In rare cases, Lamisil may trigger serious blood disorders such as neutropenia, a lack of white blood cells. The drug can also damage the liver, and there have been deaths associated with this problem. This is a high price to pay to cure toenail fungus. Patients must always be informed of common side effects and also of symptoms that might be associated with rare but deadly adverse reactions.


From Lamisil.com:

Lamisil - What are the possible side effects?

Most patients tolerate treatment with Lamisil Tablets very well. However, like all prescription drugs, Lamisil Tablets may cause some side effects in some people. These side effects, as determined by three clinical studies, were mild and in general did not lead to discontinuation of treatment with Lamisil Tablets.

The most commonly reported side effects were headache, which occurred in 12.9% of patients, gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea (5.6%), upset stomach (4.3%), taste disturbances (2.8%), nausea (2.6%), abdominal pain (2.4%), flatulence (2.2%), rash (5.6%), itching (2.8%), hives (1.1%), and abnormalities in laboratory tests of liver enzymes (3.3%).

In some cases, these complaints were no more frequent than in patients taking placebo (sugar pill).

There is more information on www.Lamisil.com, but the page labeled "Patient Product Information did not have any mention of neutropenia.


 

 
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