Accutane is a medication that is used for the treatment of severe acne. The drug is a form of vitamin A that regulates the amount of oil that is released by the skin glands and also quickens the process of skin renewing itself. The downside of the medication is that it has been associated with some severe side effects which can even be life threatening in some instances. This has led to many Accutane lawsuits over the past.
The drug is manufactured by Roche pharmaceuticals which introduced it into the market in 1982 after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug was initially hailed to be a miracle worker for many suffering with acne as it gave them blemish free skin after other treatments had failed.
Many users of Accutane experience some sort of common side effects. However, if these side effects persist or become worse, a doctor should be contacted immediately. Some of these side effects include:
Apart from these common side effects, the more worrying aspect of Accutane use is that it is also linked to some debilitating medical conditions. These include Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), liver damage, and depression and suicide. Patients who use Accutane and are experiencing the symptoms of these conditions should discontinue the use of the drug and consult their physician.
In addition to these side effects, the medication can have quite severe consequences if taken by pregnant women. FDA had given Accutane a rating of X, which means that it should never be taken during pregnancy. The reason for this was and FDA reported it too that infants born to mothers who took the drug had birth abnormalities like missing ears, problems with the central nervous system, facial dysmorphism and cleft palate.
The high risk of birth defects and miscarriage that is associated with the use of this medication had prompted the FDA to work with Roche. The purpose of this partnership was to make sure that women, who were using the drug, were not and did not get pregnant. The first program was termed SMART (System to Manage Accutane Related Teratogenicity) and it was launched in 2002. Four years later it was replaced with a stricter program, named the i-PLEDGE program.
These above mentioned side effects have led to many users going to court for damages. In 2008, an Accutane user who had ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, was awarded $10.5 million. A couple of years later an Atlantic City court ordered Roche to pay $25.16 million to a user who had five surgeries and the removal of his colon.
If you or someone you know has been using the drug and are experiencing side effects it is prudent to consult a lawyer.