Prescription drug Singular linked to suicide and behavioral changes

Pharmaceutical giant, Merck, has come under investigation yet again- this time concerning the asthma and allegory drug Singular. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced on March 27th that it will be working with Merck to determine if there is link between Merck’s asthma and allergy drug, Singular, and suicide. Singular is marketed as a drug used to treat asthma and the symptoms associated with allergies such as sneezing, runny nose and itching of nose. The drug is also known to be used to prevent exercise induced asthma.

The FDA was moved to begin the investigation after receiving numerous reports of mood and behavior changes, suicidal thinking and actual cases of suicide that were reported in several patients who took the drug.

Located in Whitehouse, New Jersey, Merck is the same the pharmaceutical company who brought the drug Vioxx to the public. Vioxx was removed from shelves after the company admitted that the medication was linked to heart attacks and strokes in thousands of people. This past summer, Merck agreed to pay 4.8 billion in settlements for patients who had documented injuries linked to the drug.

Ironically, this settlement seemed to be a bargain to Merck as Vioxx accounted for 2.5 billion of Merck’s 2003 profits and many billions of dollars over the life of the drug. Merck was forced to pull the Vioxx off the market in 2004 after its own studies showed that the pain killer doubled the risk of heart attack when taken for at least 18 months.

Similarly, the drug Singular, has accounted for 4.3 billion dollars of Merck’s sales last year. The FDA has asked the company to do a deeper analysis into its data and disclose any possible links to suicide. Merck’s officials have agreed to cooperate in the investigation.

In the meantime, patients that are currently using Singular should monitor and document any unfavorable side effects associated with its usage. In addition, if you are a patient currently experiencing suicidal thoughts or behavioral changes, contact your doctor immediately to discuss alternative treatment options.

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