What can I do if I’ve been on a prescription medicine and just found out it has a side effect that causes uncontrollable compulsive behavior?

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What can I do if I’ve been on a prescription medicine and just found out it has a side effect that causes uncontrollable compulsive behavior?

I have been fighting a gambling for years. I’ve lost more than I could ever tell you and not just in terms of money. I am 50 and never had a gambling problem before. I even went to my doctor and asked for help but he never mentioned this side effect and that was 2 years ago. is there anything I can do?

Asked on May 26, 2015 under Malpractice Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Not mentioning a side effect so that you could make an informed choice may be malpractice. However, it may be difficult to show causality--i.e. to establish that the medicine caused your behavior and losses--because it's not enough to say that you hever had a gambling problem before, or that it causes compulsive behavior in others: you need to show it caused your specific problems, which will involve tests and medical experts. This also means that the case could be expensive to pursue (medical tests and experts are not cheap).

It is worthwhile discussing the matter in detail with a malpractice attorney, because, as stated, there may be negligence or malpractice here. But discuss also the cost of the litigation; the amount of money you could potentially recover; and the odds of winning--you need to make sure that bringing a lawsuit is the right choice for you, under all the circumstances. Sometimes the other party is liable, but the chance of winning is too speculative (given the difficulty of proving certain things), or the amount you could win too low compared to the cost of the suit, to justify legal action.


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