Accutane Inflammatory Bowel Disease Sparks Lawsuits
Charles Pulikowski | February 27th, 2012 | Posted in Accutane Crohns Disease News
Some patients taking Accutane to clear up their skin got more than they bargained for: the prescription drug is known to cause inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Accutane ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal problems. In some cases, the effects of Accutane are so severe and debilitating that presiding Judge Carol E. Higbee commented on one case, “… [the plaintiff’s] testimony and that of his wife and doctors presented a picture of probably the worst case of pain, suffering and loss of quality of life I ever heard described in my eighteen years on the bench.”
The second-worst case she’s ever heard? Another Accutane lawsuit. In addition to the physical suffering associated with Accutane inflammatory bowel disease, patients experience a diminished quality of life, emotional isolation, and may become housebound, resulting in lack of physical activity and depression.
Risks of IBD and Accutane
Accutane inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own healthy tissues. In this case, the digestive tract is targeted, and the disease affects the colon, small intestine and other gastrointestinal components. IBD is a truly debilitating disease and, unfortunately, one without cure.
Generally, most victims begin to experience mild symptoms including diarrhea and stomach pain. Their condition progressively deteriorates into more severe symptoms such as vomiting, rectal bleeding, and pelvic cramps. In the most serious of cases – the one to which Judge Higbee referred – the only outcome is a total colectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the colon and anus.
Chronic Side Effects of Accutane
Even after a patient has undergone several surgical procedures, symptoms may persist. People who have received a colectomy are outfitted with an external colostomy bag, which for most entails a major change in lifestyle. Furthermore, these patients will experience extreme incontinence, multiple daily bowel movements, and painful abdominal cramping. In many cases, the discomfort is so extreme that patients are unable to sleep through the night. They will have to endure this condition and the related symptoms for the rest of their lives.
Many consumers affected by Accutane IBD have already filed lawsuits. One notable case, that of Andrew McCarrell, resulted in a $25 million verdict. As more patients come forward, it is expected that Roche, the drug’s manufacturer, will pursue out-of-court settlements in at least some cases.
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