Accutane Puts Users At Risk For Intestinal Disorders

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)—Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease—are some of the dangerous side effects linked to Accutane. In 2005, the Accutane label was modified to warn that IBD had been associated its use; however, many believe the warning did not accurately reflect this risk.

Approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982, Accutane is a treatment for recalcitrant acne and contains the active ingredient isotretinoin, derived from Vitamin A. Accutane works by drying up sebum, an oily substance produced by skin glands—excess sebum can lead to bacterial growth, inflammation of skin follicles, and acne.

Accutane has been the subject of controversy for years, garnering attention in the late 1980s for causing severe birth defects. Known to cause psychiatric problems and linked to hundreds of cases of suicide in the United States, Accutane has been linked to liver, kidney, pancreas, and cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, central nervous, and auto-immune system problems.

Named in more than 5,000 lawsuits because of its dangerous side effects, Accutane IBD lawsuits have awarded significant jury awards to plaintiffs. In June 2009, Roche Laboratories decided toinitiate Accutane recall from the market, citing loss of market share and acknowledged it was incurring increasing costs over <"">Accutane litigation. A current Black Box warning on Accutane cautions consumers about its potential to harm unborn children. Additional serious side effects associated with this drug use include Accutane depression, IBD, and liver disease.

IBD is a group of other, more specific disorders that are not curable and are characterized by inflammation of the intestines that is long-lasting and can develop repeatedly, even if seemingly clearing up. Symptoms may initially appear to be similar to those of the stomach flu and initially include severe abdominal pain, joint pain, sudden weight loss, loss of appetite, skin conditions, rectal bleeding, and fever.

IBD is comprised of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis can cause ulcers and inflammation in the large intestine, generally starting rectally and moving into the colon. Crohn’s disease usually affects the small intestine, but can occur in all portions of the digestive tract, including the mouth, stomach, and colon. Ulcers may go away without treatment, but often recur repeatedly.

In November 2008, a New Jersey jury ordered Roche to pay $13 million to three plaintiffs. The prior April, another NJ jury awarded $10.5 million to a woman who blamed the drug for her ulcerative colitis. In May 2007, a NJ trial resulted in an award of $2.62 million to a patient requiring removal of his colon and most of his rectum after taking Accutane. That October, a Florida jury awarded $7 million in damages to another Accutane user who developed IBD.

Bloomberg News reported that Roche lost all seven Accutane cases under consideration by juries since 2007, including the last three in a row. Juries in NJ and FL ordered Roche to pay at least $45 million in damages; however, appeals courts later threw out two of the verdicts, including a 2007 award of $7 million to a Florida man who blamed the drug for IBD.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of Accutane is available at <"">

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