Accutane (isotretinoin) began as a drug used in cancer treatment but was found to control severe cases of acne as well. Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc. created and released the drug in 1982 but stopped manufacturing it in 2009 because of known dangers and side effects. However, generic brands of the drug are still available sold as Amnesteen, Claravis and Sotret. Possible side effects include:
- Birth defects or death of unborn children – Between 1984 and 1988 the FDA sent out eight letters to doctors warning them about the high risk of death and deformity to children whose mothers took Accutane. In 1988 the FDA began requiring a warning in the literature saying, “Accutane can cause fetal deformities and possibly fetal death.” As many as 42 percent of infants whose mothers took Accutane suffer from birth defects. Many more were aborted either electively or spontaneously.
- Gastrointestinal disorders – The manufacturer of Accutane, Roche, claims it was not aware of bowel side effects of the drug, but early studies showed gastrointestinal bleeding in animal trials. Many patients have sued after developing inflammatory bowel disease or Crone’s disease. There is no cure for Crone’s disease which can develop in the large intestine, the small intestine or both. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloody stools, diarrhea that does not respond to OTC medications, unexplained fever or unexplained weight loss. An untreated the bowel may become blocked or ulcers may form anywhere along the gastrointestinal track. Surgery may be required to remove part of the bowel.
- Suicide – Psychiatric problems have been linked to Accutane use. Hundreds of reports to the FDA have linked Accutane to depression and suicidal behavior.
Accutane has been shown to be a dangerous drug and the drug maker may have known about the danger and marketed and sold it anyway. If you or someone you know has been harmed by using Accutane, please call Nolan Caddell Reynolds for a free consultation to see if you are entitled to compensation.