Stevens Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit Blames Motrin

Pharmaceutical giant, Johnson and Johnson, is making headlines again. This time for a lawsuit alleging its pain reliever, Motrin, caused a six-year-old girl to lose her sight as a result of developing the often-deadly <"">Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS). According to Salient News, Sabrina Brierton Johnson was treated with three doses of Children’s Motrin for a fever; she soon presented with Stevens Johnson Syndrome symptoms.

According to the Mayo Clinic, SJS is a “rare, serious disorder in which your skin and mucous membranes react severely to a medication or infection.” The disorder can begin “with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters, eventually causing the top layer of your skin to die and shed.”

Those suffering from SJS feel as if they are burning from inside their bodies and should be treated in the burn care unit since the “skin, organ linings. and mucous membranes” are being destroyed, explained Salient News. Survivors of SJS often endure long recoveries and suffer from loss of sight, disfigurement, and lifelong light sensitivity and pain, noted Salient News. Also known as toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), SJS is a rare skin disorder that is severe and deadly, with most cases caused by some medication, said Salient News.

SJS is considered an “emergency medical condition” that typically necessitates a hospital stay with recovery taking up to months, and often not being complete, as was the case with Sabrina, whose eyesight is permanently damaged, said Salient News.

Although there is no definitive cause or known trigger, it seems that a number of anti-inflammatory drugs—NSAID’s, such as ibuprofen, for example—have been connected to SJS cases, wrote Salient News. Of note, SJS did not manifest immediately in Sabrina’s case, with symptoms absent in the first couple of doses, said Salient News.

Many drugs do list skin reactions as potential symptoms of an allergic reaction to the medication, which refers to skin allergies and SJS, added Salient News.

Sabrina was hospitalized for two weeks and suffered from “blistering, lesions, rash, and great pain,” said Salient News. Although surgeries were performed, Sabrina lost her eyesight. Now, Sabrina’s parents are guardians’ ad litem in their lawsuit on her behalf against Johnson & Johnson, McNeil Consumer, and Specialty Pharmaceuticals, said Salient News. The action alleges that McNeil, maker of Children’s Motrin, should have had a warning indication on the product’s label regarding the risk of, and symptoms connected to, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, reported Salient News.

A trial occurred in this case, with the jury ruling that both Johnson & Johnson and McNeil were aware of the possible risks and side effects linked to Children’s Motrin and neglected to warn of these issues; however, the verdict found that the insufficient information was not a critical factor in the harm caused to Sabrina, said Salient News. The plaintiff is seeking a judgment reversal saying that the “trial court abused its discretion by excluding a demonstrative exhibit that illustrated the testimony of an expert,” wrote Salient News.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit just issued yet another Tylenol recall, this time over a musty smell. Over the past year, McNeil has issued a string of recalls for millions of bottles of medicine for various problems.

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