Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, is a medication that is used to treat severe skin acne. Although the brand name Accutane was discontinued in 2009 due to a significant amount of Accutane lawsuits, the generic version is still prescribed under other brand names, such as Amnesteem, Absorica, Claravis, and Zenatane. Like most medications, Accutane can cause side effects in some people, with some of the most commonly reported side effects being:
- Skin infection
- Joint pain
- Bone pain
- Moving difficulties
- Eye inflammation, including burning, itchiness, and redness
- Eye dryness
- Mouth dryness
- A decrease in night vision
- Skin irritation
- Lip inflammation, including burning, scaling, pain, redness or pain
While some of these side effects may just result in minor inconvenience or discomfort, for others, these side effects can be serious enough to cause lifelong injury. Some of these rare, but serious side effects in patients include severe or continuous headaches, depression and suicidal thoughts, blurred vision, rectal bleeding, severe stomach pain, and other alarming adverse reactions.
It has also been reported that Accutane can cause serious birth defects, so pregnant women should never take Accutane. The dangers of Accutane harming an unborn baby are so high that it is part of the iPLEDGE program, which prohibits doctors from prescribing Accutane to women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Under this program, female patients are instructed to have two negative pregnancy tests before they are prescribed Accutane, as well as monthly negative pregnancy tests during the course of their treatment. The program also specifies that female patients who are of reproductive age should be on two forms of birth control when taking Accutane and should start birth control one month before taking the medication. Birth control should also be taken for one month after stopping Accutane. These strict guidelines are in place to protect unborn babies against the extremely dangerous side effects of Accutane, which have been reported to include some of the following:
- Cardiovascular system issues
- Problems with the thymus and parathyroid glands
- Central nervous system problems
- Low IQ scores of 85 or less
- Abnormalities of the skull, face, eyes, or ears
In addition to these serious birth effects, there is also an increased risk of premature birth and miscarriage in pregnant patients taking Accutane. Because there isn’t a way to currently assess just how much exposure to Accutane is too much, and because taking Accutane for even just a short amount of time while pregnant can cause significant damage, it is imperative that female patients completely stop taking Accutane before conceiving.
When a patient is prescribed medication to help with a specific issue, they expect that their condition improves. What they don’t expect is adverse side effects and negative repercussions, especially if they are pregnant. After all, they are putting their trust in the drug manufacturers that the medication they are taking is safe. They also entrusting their doctors and assuming that they are only being prescribed medication that is safe for them to take. When they are harmed as a direct result of the medication they are taking, or their unborn baby is harmed, a lawsuit may result.
Determining who is liable in an Accutane lawsuit will typically vary by the specific case, just like with any other medication error lawsuit. In some cases, it may be the drug manufacturer’s liability and the victim may be pursuing monetary compensation in a product liability lawsuit. In other cases, a doctor may be to blame for prescribing the medication to a pregnant patient. The patient may not have been informed about the risks of taking Accutane while pregnant, or she may not have even known she was pregnant during treatment.
Pursuing an Accutane lawsuit can be complex, but if you are already working with an attorney, he or she likely has a plan in place and can help you navigate through this process. One part of the process that can be uncertain, however, is timing. More specifically, plaintiffs are often eager to settle and move on with their lives, and rightfully so. After all, these types of lawsuits often result after physical pain and trauma, emotional turmoil, and other tragic consequences. You can take comfort in knowing that your attorney is working diligently on settling your case on your behalf in the fairest way possible. However, because of this, it can also be difficult to know exactly when your lawsuit will be finalized. If you’re counting on that settlement money to pay for bills and other expenses, USClaims may be able to help through a lawsuit advance. Contact us today to learn more about these services, which are also commonly referred to as pre-settlement funding. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the process, and we can also verify if your lawsuit is eligible for pre-settlement funding.