Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) - Consumer Justice Foundation

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)

Written by Faith Anderson on January 17, 2012
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Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) Side Effects

The life-threatening brain infection called PML can lead to severely debilitating neurological problems, if not death, in patients. If you have suffered from symptoms of PML, which you believe to be linked to pharmaceutical drug use, contact a defective drug attorney immediately.

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, more commonly known as PML, is a viral disease affecting the white matter of the brain, caused by an infection that targets the cells that make myelin, which is the material that insulates nerve cells. Although John Cunningham (JC) virus, the virus that causes PML, is carried by many people for which it causes no harm, individuals with weakened immune systems are exposed to the harmful effects of the virus. PML is rare and typically occurs in patients undergoing chronic corticosteroid or immunosuppressive therapy, or in patients with cancers like Hodgkin lymphoma. According to a new FDA warning issued on January 13, 2012, PML side effects have been reported in patients taking Adcetris, a relatively new cancer medication used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma and a rare type of lymphoma called systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). In fact, the severity of PML led the FDA to add a new Boxed Warning to the Adcetris label, highlighting this side effect risk.

PML Symptoms

Because PML can affect different parts of the brain to a variety of degrees, the symptoms associated with PML are diverse. In general, PML symptoms include confusion, loss of memory, problems with thinking, changes in mood or usual behavior, weakness in one side of the body, and changes in speech, vision or walking. Symptoms associated with PML may evolve over the course of weeks or months, and the progression of deficits typically leads to significant neurological disability and often death.

PML Treatment and Prognosis

There is currently no cure for PML, although in some instances, the disease can be slowed down or stopped if immune system defense improves. There are a number of drugs being studied which may aid in treating PML, although the research is only preliminary and the potential side effects of the drugs are severe. In general, the mortality rate of PML is 30-50% in the first few months following diagnosis of PML, although this greatly depends on the severity of the underlying disease and the potential success of treatment. Unfortunately, even patients who survive PML are often left with severe neurological disabilities.

Contact a Defective Drug Attorney for Help

The adverse effects associated with PML are devastating if not fatal. If you or a loved one has suffered from PML and you believe a pharmaceutical drug to be the cause, contact a defective drug attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file an injury lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company responsible for manufacturing the drug, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Victims of pharmaceutical drug-related PML side effects should not be forced to shoulder the consequences of this debilitating disease on their own. With the help of a qualified defective drug lawyer, side effect victims can collect the compensation they deserve and protect themselves from further harm.

Posted Under: Drug Side Effects
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