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Accutane Lawsuit Award Upheld

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Newwark, NJA judge has upheld a jury award in a recent Accutane lawsuit, according to reports. The lawsuit alleged the patient suffered Accutane side effects, reportedly including Accutane inflammatory bowel disease.

According to a news release (published at timesunion.com; 4/10/12), plaintiff Gillian Gaghan used Accutane for six months in 1998. She allegedly developed inflammatory bowel disease six weeks after she discontinued the medication. Her lawsuit claimed Gaghan developed ulcerative colitis, which resulted in a loss of nighttime bowel control, and that had she known about the risks, she would not have used Accutane.

Gaghan's lawsuit was part of a consolidated lawsuit, involving two other plaintiffs, James Marshall and Kelly Andrews. Both Marshall and Andrews were denied an award, for different reasons.

Gaghan, however, was awarded $2 million in her lawsuit after the jury found that Accutane maker Hoffman-La Roche did not adequately warn patients about the risks associated with the medication and that use of Accutane could cause inflammatory bowel disease. Hoffman-La Roche appealed the jury's award.

Various studies have linked the use of isotretinoin (the generic version of Accutane) to inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis. It has also been linked to a serious risk of birth defects.

In January 2009, evidence was presented to the American College of Gastroenterology in San Diego suggesting that isotretinoin users had a higher risk of bowel disorders than the general population. According to researchers, the odds of being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis were more than four times higher in patients who used isotretinoin than in the general population. Meanwhile, patients who filled four or more prescriptions for Accutane had more than 2.5 times the increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease.

Inflammatory bowel disease is a potentially serious condition in which the patient's intestines become swollen, causing pain, cramping and, sometimes, bleeding. Some patients require surgery to remove a portion of their colon.

Accutane is no longer available on the market, although some generic versions are still being marketed.

In another recent Accutane lawsuit, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Kamie Kendall did not miss the statute of limitations when she filed her lawsuit in 2005. She was awarded $10.5 million in her 2008, but Hoffman-La Roche appealed the award.

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