A man who claims Motrin caused him to suffer a severe form of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/stevens_johnson_syndrome">Stevens Johnson Syndrome is now having his day in court. The California trial against Motrin makers Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Consumer Healthcare, as well as McKesson Corp., Motrinâ€™s California distributor, is now in progress, with the plaintiff’s attorney delivering an opening statement on Tuesday.
The lawsuit was brought by Christopher Trejo, 22, over allegations he developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome from over-the-counter Motrin he took for a fever. According to his attorney, said the Daily Breeze, Trejo suffers from decreased strength as a result of the sometimes-deadly disorder. The case is being heard in a Los Angeles Superior Court. Trejoâ€™s lawyer also discussed peeling skin and adverse reactions to Trejoâ€™s eyes, organs, and genitals due to toxic epidermal necrolysisâ€” aka Lyellâ€™s Syndromeâ€”said the Daily Breeze. Trejo had to abandon plans for medical school, cannot taste or smell, have normal sexual relations, and perform routine bodily functions.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome is a severe sensitivity reaction that can be caused by a number of drugs and leaves the patient with blistering of mucous membranes, especially of the mouth, eyes, and genitals, as well as patchy rashes that cause skin peeling. The condition can spread to internal organs and can cause scarring and blindness. When over 30 percent of the body is impacted, the condition becomes toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Both Stevens Johnson Syndrome and TEN typically call for hospital burn unit treatment.
Trejo, who is now a legal U.S. resident filed his lawsuit in late 2008. Trejo seeks compensatory and punitive damages and alleges that the defendants placed an “emphasis on corporate profits at the expense of the health and safety of consumers” by intentionally not indicating Motrinâ€™s known risks on product labels, even though the defendants were fully aware of them for years, said the Daily Breeze.
According to his lawsuit, Trejo’s mother lived in Los Angeles in 2005 when Christopher was 16 and living in Honduras; his mother allegedly sent Motrin, purchased in California, to her family in Honduras for her great-grandmotherâ€™s arthritis, said the Daily Breeze. Although Trejo took aspirins for soreness following soccer, he found the Motrin when trying to reduce a fever, said his attorney during opening remarks, who said Christopher followed label instructions.
Within days, Trejo felt bloody bumps in his mouth, his eyes reddened, he suffered from skin lesions in his mouth, face, abdomen, and genitalia; more than half his body was covered in blisters. He was hospitalized in Honduras and diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome and soon, TEN. “By the fourth day of hospitalization, 100 percent of Christopher’s body surface was damaged as his skin began to literally detach from all over his body, including the bottoms of his feet, the palms of his hands and his fingernails,” court papers state. Trejo was moved to a hospital in Texas and, then, Los Angeles, according to testimony, said the Daily Breeze.
In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated McNeil change its labels to include the potential for adverse skin reactions; the drug maker did not make the change until that November, one month after Trejo took Motrin and fell ill.