In recent years, medical experts have highlighted several serious side effects, including Crohn’s disease, caused by the acne medication called Accutane. A number of scientific studies, including one published in 2006 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, have established that Accutane use can increase the risk of developing a variety of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s disease. According to this study, eighty-five cases of IBD like Crohn’s were reported during a five-year period, all of which were deemed “possible” to “highly probable” to be caused by Accutane use.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disorder affecting the gastrointestinal tract, anywhere from the mouth to anus, most commonly affecting the lower part of the small intestine. The disease causes swelling which extends deep into the affected organ, causing pain and resulting in frequent diarrhea. Diagnosis of Crohn’s disease can be difficult, as some symptoms associated with the disease are shared by a number of other conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.
The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are abdominal pain and diarrhea; other symptoms include weight loss, rectal bleeding, skin rashes, arthritis, and fever. In some cases, bleeding may be so severe that it leads to anemia. Blockage of the intestine is the most common complication of Crohn’s disease, resulting from the thickening of the intestine wall due to scar tissue and swelling which narrows the passageway. Other issues may arise, including ulcers in surrounding tissue which can become infected, nutritional problems, arthritis, inflammation of the eyes or mouth, kidney stones, and gallstones, among other complications. In severe cases of Crohn’s disease, victims may experience intestinal or anal abscesses and bowel movements occurring as often as twenty times a day. While some people with Crohn’s disease may experience long periods of remission, the disease typically recurs at various times throughout the individual’s life. Because of this unpredictable pattern, it is difficult to tell if specific treatments have been affective. Possible treatment methods include nutrition supplements, surgery and medications, but remain largely inconclusive.
The dangers of using the drug Accutane have been apparent since 2000 when the FDA required Accutane’s manufacturing company, Roche Pharmaceuticals, to update the drug’s label with accurate risk information. In June of 2009, Roche Pharmaceuticals pulled the drug off the market in the United States, due in part to the expense of injury-related Accutane lawsuits. Prior to 2010, Roche Pharmaceuticals had been ordered to pay out approximately $30 million in lawsuits involving victims who experienced devastating side effects of Accutane, including Crohn’s disease. Despite these dangers, Accutane remains on the market outside the United States and is still available in generic forms in the U.S. Crohn’s disease can take several years to progress into a recognizable disease, meaning that people who have taken Accutane in the past may still be at risk of developing Crohn’s disease in the near future.
Drug manufacturing companies are responsible for the potentially harmful side effects associated with their medications. According to federal law, these companies must include warnings on the drug’s label as soon as reasonable evidence linking the drug to dangerous injuries or diseases is brought to light. Unfortunately, sometimes drug manufacturing companies are aware of the dangers of their medications and conceal this information from the FDA and the public. If this occurs, they may be held liable for injuries sustained by consumers of their product. The only way to protect your rights as a consumer to accurate information about the potential risks of certain medications is to hire an Accutane lawyer to represent your case.
Even though Accutane was recalled in 2009, many people are still experiencing side effects of the medication, including the development of Crohn’s disease. The complications associated with this disease can be debilitating and, in some cases, life-threatening. If you or a loved one has suffered from Crohn’s disease as a result of taking Accutane, you should contact an Accutane attorney to discuss how filing an Accutane lawsuit can benefit you. It is estimated that Accutane has been used by 16 million people world-wide and thousands of lawsuits have already been filed against Roche Pharmaceuticals. Victims of conditions like Crohn’s disease caused by Accutane are not at fault and should not be held accountable for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs involved in their lifelong treatment and care. Accutane lawyers have the knowledge and experience to provide a valuable resource to Crohn’s disease victims in developing a successful lawsuit.