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Statistically, you or someone you love will be prescribed a medication with a Black Box Warning.


Many side effects are reversible if the drug is discontinued or stopped in time. Identifying a side effect as quickly as possible is your best chance at avoiding long-term, negative health impacts. But first, in order to identify them, you have to know how side effects can show up, feel, or "present." Just as we all respond to different medications individually, the same thing applies to side effects.


While certain medications irrevocably derailed our lives, other medications keep my wife alive, and functional to a degree, every day.


We are not anti-medication. 


J.A. began her advocacy work just weeks after she'd been diagnosed with drug-induced brain damage that we were told could be permanent, along with neurological conditions that are not only progressive, but could last the rest of her life. This damage was caused by FDA-approved medications that had boxed warnings, but neither we, nor her doctors, knew how these side effects could present and how incredibly common they are.


Since then, we've been homing in on what we as individuals can do to incrementally make our healthcare system safer for everyone. 


We know what happens when something huge impacts a member of your family's health. Worrying about staying alive, basic healthcare--no one has time to "get involved." But if the first line of this section is true, and we believe it is, then we're asking you to make the time because this is about all of us, whether right now, or in the future.


And because we want to make it easy for you to help without taking too much of your time, we've made specific, achievable goals that don't require much of it.


These three "hard" goals are:


  • Create awareness of the warnings on medications. Knowledge will save lives. 

  • Drugs should be medications, not products to be advertised.

  • Mandatory reporting of drug side-effects will get us the data so our drugs can be safe .

The safety and dangers of drugs should be discussed with our doctors, not in glossy print, misleading television ads, and pushed while we're at our most vulnerable--in our doctor's exam rooms. However, it's tough to make informed decisions when data about our medications is compromised or non-existent. In the digital age, this is inexcusable.

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