Many patients and particularly women, suffer from recurrent urinary tract infection and cystitis and one of the ways in which these conditions are treated is with the prescription of an antibiotic called Nitrofurantoin and it is common practice for Nitrofurantoin to be prescribed for uncomplicated cystitis and for recurrent urinary tract infections by GP’s.
In many situations urinary tract infections can continue for many years and as a consequence of which a patient may be prescribed for many years without the prescription itself or indeed the dosage being prescribed being reviewed.
However, it has now been found that prolonged prescription of Nitrofurantoin over a number of years can result in the patient developing a condition called Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity.
What is Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity?
Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity can cause patients to suffer with symptoms such fever, cough, intense chest pain, breathlessness, and more seriously permanent lung damage. And once patients are diagnosed with Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity the prescription of the medication is stopped immediately.
And it is crucial that the GP identifies these symptoms early to stop the Nitrofurantoin and avoid long term lung damage.
However, this does not mean that just because a patient has been prescribed Nitrofurantoin that they will inevitably end up with Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity, steps can and should be taken to minimise the chances of a patient developing Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity and long-term lung damage. The GP prescribing the Nitrofurantoin is under a duty to mitigate and reduce the chances of Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity happening.
Preventing Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity
A GP who is prescribing a patient with Nitrofurantoin should do the following in order to reduce the chances of a patient developing Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity, they should:
- Regularly review and monitor patients on Nitrofurantoin, patients should not just be prescribed Nitrofurantoin and then left to just pick up their repeat prescription.
- Arrange for patients on long term Nitrofurantoin to have 6 monthly chest x-rays and monitoring of liver function to allow for early detection of any development of Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity.
- Advise the patient of the risks of Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity developing and the symptoms that will present to allow for early treatment.
And if the GP doesn’t follow these simple steps, then the GP may be found to have provided substandard treatment if the patient then goes onto develop Nitrofurantoin Pulmonary Toxicity and long-term lung damage.
So, if you have suffered with recurrent urinary tract infections or cystitis and have been prescribed Nitrofurantoin and the prescription of Nitrofurantoin has not been reviewed and monitored and you have simply been given a repeat prescription and have now been advised that you have lung damage as a result of being prescribed Nitrofurantoin then you may be able to make a claim.
Contact us today to speak to one of our team for a no obligation chat regarding the events of your care and our no win no fee agreement.