The Accutane injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are now accepting new cases with injured victims who have suffered serious complications after taking the acne treatment medication.
Physicians prescribe the powerful Vitamin A derivative isotretinoin medication to treat acne and other skin conditions. The drug was initially launched as an effective chemotherapy drug to treat pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, and others due to its capacity to kill cancerous cells that are rapidly dividing. However, many patients have suffered severe side effects after taking the drug including inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other unexpected health conditions that tend to persist long after Accutane usage has ceased.
The History of Accutane
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially approved the generic isotretinoin in 1982 as a prescription drug used to treat cases of severe acne that did not respond well to conventional therapy. As a part of the approval process, the FDA classified Hoffman-La Roche’s Accutane as a Class X pharmaceutical meaning it was contraindicated (to be avoided) during pregnancy.” Two years later in 1984, the FDA made the company at an Accutane “black box” warning to ensure fetal deformity risks were added to the labeling.
By 1998, numerous medical research studies revealed the correlation between using Accutane and developing depression. As a result, warnings were issued by the FDA sent out to physicians indicating that there was a possible risk to harmful adverse reactions involving psychiatric effects that included suicidal ideation, suicide, psychosis, and depression. In 2000 and to the Food and Drug Administration required the drug maker to start submitting side effects summer reports on a quarterly basis which revealed approximately 6000 reports by consumers of psychiatric adverse events including suicidal thoughts and depression.
At approximately the same time, new prescriptions for Accutane begin to decline. By 2005, and alert is issued by the FDA advising physicians to monitor their patients taking generic isotretinoin and brand-name Accutane to identify suicidal thoughts or actions. Strict warnings were issued by the FDA in 2007 about purchasing isotretinoin and Accutane online. The first Accutane lawsuits were filed in 2007 where one plaintiff claimed they suffered IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). These lawsuits result in one plaintiff receiving $7 million and another $2.6 million in a jury trial award.
Accutane Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
Even though the brand-name Accutane is no longer available for sale in America, other brands are prescribed like Absorica and in its generic version isotretinoin. The acne drug has been highly effective at treating cases of severe nodular acne, where tender, swollen and red lines form just under the skin, often leaving permanent scars. Isotretinoin in its generic and brand-name forms is usually only prescribed when all other effective treatment options, like antibiotics, have proven to be ineffective at reducing nodular acne. Restrive us is necessary because the drug can cause serious side effects, especially when the medication is used during pregnancy. The most common less harmful side effects include dry skin, dry eyes, chapped lips, and dry nose that often causes nosebleeds. Often, these minimal side effects fade away once the medication is no longer taken.
However, there are serious side effects that cause permanent or long-term damage. While these serious side effects tend to be rare, they can produce catastrophic life-changing results. They include:
- Increased Cholesterol Levels – Isotretinoin is known to increase cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Because of that, many doctors will recommend checking cholesterol and fat levels using routine blood testing, especially if the patient suffers from obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption or metabolic syndrome. Typically, these problems fade away once the isotretinoin treatment has stopped.
- Muscle and Joint Problems – Many individuals taking isotretinoin suffer ongoing muscle and joint problems especially during physical activity. This includes excessive pain to the body’s ligaments, muscles, joints, and bones. In fact, the drug has been known to stop long bone growth in teenagers that with undesirable results that are often permanent. Many individuals complain of muscle and joint symptoms including broken bones. It is often advised to stop taking isotretinoin if the patient is experiencing muscle weakness because damage to the muscle could produce a permanent effect.
- Elevated Brain Pressure – Even though excessive pressure on the brain is a rare isotretinoin side effect, it can cause permanent loss of the patient’s eyesight or even death. Common symptoms involving excessive brain pressure include dizziness, blurry vision, severe headaches, vomiting, and nausea. Some patients have suffered strokes and seizures while on the medication.
- Serious Skin Rashes – common skin rashes occur when taking isotretinoin products including peeling skin, a fever with rash, sores on the eyes, eyelids, nose, throat, and mouth along with blistering skin on the face, legs or arms, and conjunctivitis (pinkeye).
- Organ Damage – Excessive use of isotretinoin can cause permanent damage to the body’s internal organs including the intestines, pancreas, liver, and esophagus. Sometimes, the damage continues even after the medication usage has ceased. Common side effects, though rare involved diarrhea, worsening or new cases of heartburn, rectal bleeding, dark urine, difficulty or pain during swallowing, severe pain in the lower abdomen, chest, or stomach. Some patients have experienced jaundice when the skin or eyes become yellow.
- Eye and Vision Problems – Patients taking Accutane, isotretinoin or another brand-name version of the acne medication can develop vision problems that include double vision, or blurry eyesight. The medication can also minimize the patient’s capacity to see in the dark. Sometimes, these symptoms are permanent. The drug is known to produce excessive tearing, which often makes it difficult to be using the medication and wearing contact lenses simultaneously.
- Hearing Problems – The acting medication is known to cause severe hearing problems including ringing in the ears. Immediate medical attention is necessary because the loss of hearing could be permanent.
- Allergic Reactions – Some patients experience an allergic reaction to isotretinoin and display difficulty in breathing, hives, and swelling of the mouth or face. Other allergic reaction symptoms include bruising on the legs, red patches and rashes accompanied with or without a fever. Any type of allergic reaction might require an immediate trip to the emergency room.
- Low Red and White Blood Cell Count – Some patients experience anemia after taking isotretinoin when their red blood cell count becomes extremely low. Common symptoms involve weakness, extreme tiredness, pale skin, dizziness, and cold feet and hands. Others experience low white blood cell counts accompanied by frequent infections and fevers.
- Diabetes Problems – If you are experiencing severe thirst, blurry vision, frequent urination, and increased tiredness, you may be suffering from diabetic conditions associated with taking the acne medication.
- Mental Health Problems – Even though mental health problems associated with the drug’s use are rare, they can happen and include suicidal ideation (thoughts) suicide, psychosis, and depression. Common symptoms involve with developing mental issues include crying spells, lack of energy, changes in weight or appetite, irritability, aggressive behavior, becoming angry, increasing sensations of sadness, hallucinations, self-injury, a sensation of guilt or worthlessness, and difficulty in concentration.
Accutane-Related Pregnancy Warning
The FDA has warned pregnant women or women attempting to become pregnant to avoid using the acne medication in any of its brand label or generic form. This is because isotretinoin has been shown to increase the potential risk of the baby developing severe birth defects. These defects can include an abnormality of the skull, ears, eyes or face, diminished IQ (intelligent quotient) or damage to the cardiovascular system, central nervous system, parathyroid glands, and thymus of the fetus. In addition, pregnant women have suffered premature births and miscarriages when using isotretinoin products.
Accutane Recalled from The Medical Marketplace
Hoffman-La Roche voluntarily their highly popular acne medication from the marketplace in 2009 after numerous Accutane lawsuits were filed by plaintiffs who claim that the drug causes serious side effects. These unwanted side effects include ulcerated colitis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, birth defects and others. However, other brand names and the generic version isotretinoin remain available for use.
The company stated the decision to conduct a voluntary recall was merely a business decision. However, at the time, there were numerous personal injury lawsuits that would likely result in millions of dollars in settlements and trial awards.
Since the FDA first approved Accutane in 1982, Hoffman-La Roche has generated billions of dollars in sales. It was only after the drug had shown to be defective in causing serious side effects like suicide, depression, and birth defects that it was pulled from the medical marketplace. However, the acne medication is still available in generic and other brand-name forms.
Some reports have revealed that Hoffman-La Roche has lost their initial court cases and has paid out settlements that total more than $56 million to victims suffering harm from their acne medication. Additionally, manufacturers of the generic versions of the acne drug (isotretinoin) have also lost verdicts and have settled their cases out of court.
However, the amounts of the settlements have remained undisclosed due to confidentiality agreements. Attorneys have estimated that more than 5000 Accutane lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs against numerous drug making companies for their failure to protect the public from adverse reactions and severe side effects caused by their defective product.
Let’s Begin Building Your Accutane Lawsuit Now
If you have been affected by side effects caused by Accutane, isotretinoin or other brand-name acne medications, our drug Law Center attorneys can help you obtain compensation and take action against those who caused you harm. Our legal team of personal injury lawyers understands the devastation victims endure when the medication designed to help improve their health condition instead causes serious damage.
Do you have a valid claim to seek compensation for an acne drug use complication? Our Accutane injury law firm is currently accepting new cases involving complications, side effects and adverse reactions caused by acting medication. We are ready to provide legal representation, advice, and counsel to handle every aspect of your claim. We have the knowledge and valuable resources necessary to hire experienced medical experts that will testify in your lawsuit to support your case. We have a comprehensive understanding of all of the FDA warnings, studies and research that link isotretinoin to depression, suicide, and other undesirable side effects.
Our lawyers can ensure that you receive adequate financial compensation to ensure you financially recover from:
- Past, ongoing and future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost capacity to earn an income in the future
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Contact us today to begin the process of obtaining your financial recompense. We are currently handling individual Accutane cases and those that will be consolidated in multidistrict litigation and class action suits. We offer initial free consultations to discuss the merits of your case and can provide you immediate legal representation and numerous options on how to proceed.