I spotted an article in the NYT online today, The Evidence Gap: The Minimal Impact of a Big Hypertension Study which at first I thought I’d bypass but then decided, what the heck, I’ll read it. Toward the end of the first page I suddenly came across mention of my least favorite medication, Cardura.
The article is about a massive hypertension study called ALLHAT, short for Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial.
The purpose of the ALLHAT was to compare four drugs for effectiveness on people over age 55, a diuretic called chlorthalidone; an ACE inhibitor called lisinopril; a calcium channel blocker called amlodipine; and an alpha blocker called doxazosin, which Pfizer sold as Cardura.
Ah, there’s my old “friend”, Cardura — who was supposed to keep me from peeing in the night but instead knocked me out cold — as part of a big study. What did they find out about it?, I wondered.
Well. I didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Here’s the very next paragraph in the article:
Pfizer’s bet on Cardura proved a big mistake. As the Allhat data came in, patients taking Cardura were nearly twice as likely as those receiving the diuretic to require hospitalization for heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood adequately. Concerned, the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute announced in March 2000 that it had stopped the Cardura part of the trial. Ha ha. Cardura went out in 2000 and yet I take it in 2008. Amazing!
Perhaps the reason I took that Cardura pill on November 1, 2008, was that Pfizer didn’t like losing its bet on Cardura and fought back like a giant corporation. They managed to defeat a lawsuit by two patients who then went the route of a Citizen Petition. Read all about it here.
The Citizen Petition brought the FDA into the fray, a year after the original findings of the ALLHAT. Some of the outside experts at the FDA meeting claimed the ALLHAT data were not accurate while other experts disagreed. The FDA considered the net result a wash, and so, no warning was issued to doctors and patients about Cardura.
Well, I’d like to issue my own warning!
Here ye! Here ye! Here ye! I, Marden H. Seavey, issue my own warning about the dangerous medication Cardura. It caused me to faint and crash on our bathroom floor injuring my back and rib cage musculature, and I’m still sore a month later.
Worse, the little 2mg Cardura pill lowered my heart rate into the 30’s which worried the doctors at the hospital until the rate finally recovered. This was about eight hours after I had passed out. A cardiovascular specialist has given me thoroughgoing tests (echo cardiogram and Holter monitor for 24 hours), and now declares I don’t have to see him for a year.
His warning to me: Just don’t take Cardura!