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Books, Journals, New Media
February 3, 1999

DrugsBitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999American Medical Association


by Stephen Fried, 432 pp, $24.95, ISBN 0-533-10383-0, New York, NY, Bantam Books, 1998.

JAMA. 1999;281(5):469. doi:10.1001/jama.281.5.469-JBK0203-3-1

Bitter Pills is three books in one. The author, a medical investigative reporter from Philadelphia, describes his wife's misfortune when samples of a quinolone antibiotic led to neurologic and psychiatric sequelae and his own reactions and interactions. Over several years he grew aware that his wife not the only one who had suffered—severe complications from use of a medication are widespread. These complications included neurological and neuromuscular problems such as confusion, disorientation, seizures, and weakness. Initially, dozens and then more than 100 patients were identified with such problems.

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