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The Heartbreak and Tragedy of Accutane Side Effects

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Manchester, UKWhen Accutane manufacturer Hoffman La-Roche Inc. (Roche) weighed mounting lawsuits in the US over allegations of Accutane Ulcerative Colitis and other adverse events, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant withdrew Accutane from the US market, citing the need to make the most appropriate business decision. Roche did not pull Accutane due to allegations of an unsafe product.

In fact, Accutane is still available in other countries. Accutane continues to be available in Canada (where there is also many an Accutane lawsuit). And Accutane also remains available in the UK, marketed as Roaccutane.

The father of the late Jon Medland, a promising young medical student who committed suicide, thinks Roaccutane should be pulled from the market in the UK as well. In fact, Jonathan Medland told The Daily Mail (1/31/13) online that, in his view, Roaccutane should be banned altogether.

Along with Accutane inflammatory bowel disease, isotretinoin (Accutane/Roaccutane) has also been linked to suicide. Jon Medland had been taking Roaccutane for acne when he began to experience a troubled state of mind - a problem that continued even after Roaccutane was stopped. The 22-year-old hanged himself in January 2004 in his student residence, just months away from graduating from Manchester University Medical School.

He had used Roaccutane for just 3.5 weeks.

There have been other suicides in the UK allegedly associated with the British form of Accutane. Mail One reports that Melissa Martin-Hughes, 18, took her own life in April 2010. Martin-Hughes had been prescribed Roaccutane.

Two years before that, in 2008, Angela Lee committed suicide by stepping in front of a train in East London. The 28-year-old left behind a suicide note identifying Roaccutane as making her feel “prematurely aged.” Lee lamented in her note that “there was no way out.”

Isotretinoin has been more commonly associated with Accutane Crohns Disease, a debilitating condition that causes much pain and discomfort, and often impairs an individual’s capacity to function. To that end, Accutane IBD is the most common basis for an Accutane lawsuit.

However, depression remains a possibility with a medication that was initially developed for a different purpose. Isotretinoin, the generic name for Accutane acne medication, was a chemotherapy drug before its capacity to reduce production of sebum - the facial oils that tend to run rampant in adolescents and young adults and clogs pores, thereby fostering acne - was seen as an opportunity to create a new indication for isotretinoin.

The Daily Mail cited figures released by the World Health Organization that suggested isotretinoin had been implicated in 720 reports of psychiatric problems, including over 100 suicides or attempted suicides globally.

A documentary on Accutane effects broadcast last month on the BBC related the story of Jesse Jones, a promising musician who took his own life in February 2011, at the age of 24.

He left a note.

“Dear Mum and Dad, Roaccutane seems to have changed the way my mind and body works in a big way. I can barely bring myself to type its name because I hate it so much.

“Anything to do with the opposite sex isn’t psychologically appealing. I used to have to try to stop myself from thinking about girls all of the time; now, I could hardly care less.”

His body was found at the foot of a cliff near his home.

In the documentary, made and released by his filmmaker father, it was revealed that Jesse had been prescribed Roaccutane for problematic, cystic acne at the age of 18. He used it without problems for six months. In 2009, when his acne returned, Jesse was again prescribed Roaccutane. On this occasion, Jess began to experience joint pain in his fingers, limiting his capacity to play guitar and drums. He stopped taking Roaccutane after three months.

His father, Derek, said his son continued to suffer Accutane effects (Roaccutane in the UK) more than a year after coming off the drug. “In my research since, I’ve discovered people are still having adverse effects years after coming off it,” Derek Jones told The Daily Mail.

While Roche admits there is a small association with depression and includes that possibility on the enclosed medication guide, Derek Jones wants a warning on the packaging. “One expert I spoke to, who prescribes Roaccutane, believes the number of people it is likely to affect is very small, but that is like playing Russian roulette with people’s lives,” he says.

“This drug could drive your child to suicide. That risk is too high a price to pay for clear skin.”

As for US and Canadian residents, Accutane medication has triggered so much physical suffering they hadn’t bargained for, that thousands have filed an Accutane ulcerative colitis lawsuit.

Meanwhile, The International Herald Tribune (2/27/13) notes that Accutane is one of several drugs that should not be taken by pregnant women, for any reason. Siobhan M. Dolan, obstetrician and geneticist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and co-author with Alice Lesch Kelly of Healthy Mom Healthy Baby, says that amongst other drugs, Accutane should not be taken during pregnancy, and ideally, should be stopped at least three months before becoming pregnant.

In other Accutane news, the defendant in thousands of Accutane lawsuits filed a motion at the end of last year asking Judge Carol E. Higbee of the Atlantic County Superior Court to recuse herself from New Jersey’s multi-county Accutane litigation. Hoffman-La Roche Inc. accused Higbee of bias, citing her appearance at a defense legal conference with a plaintiff attorney from the Accutane MDL litigation. According to Litigation Blog (2/14/13), Higbee dismissed the allegation and denied the motion filed December 11, 2012.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Does anyone know of any lawsuits in the UK against the manufacturers of this horrible drug? This drug caused me to have IBD and now what appears to be arthritis in my hands and spine. I am a very healthy 23 year old but my body feels about 83.

Posted by

on
My daughter now 16 took this drug,,for six months he the doc increased,,the dose.she had every possible side effect,where he just shrugged it off as oh that's unusual,and it will pass,,she bled from her bowels chronic pain in stomach reflux..and mouth soreness and ulcers,,diarrhoea,,she finall stopped taking drug and the effects (side ) stopped for 30 days .Then it started,the whole effecta back ten fold,,she was started with reflux the stomach pain ,,bleeding bowels,,went to doctor just said oh might have a I fa matin in bowels gave her something for that without investigations,,,changed doctor by this stage she was unable to eat with chronic pain ...in her throat and stomach, her new refer gastric specialist where she had colonoscopy and the scope down throat,,,to reveal chronic upper Colon Crohns,,my daughter a twin,,never had a days sickness beside the odd cold not and enough for her to miss school..
Please help stop this being sold in Australia,,,too late for my daughter has a long life sentence now 2017

Posted by

on
I took Accutane in 1986 for a case of mild adult onset cystic acne.I have been ill for some 30 years now, I am 66 yrs old. All the side effects increase with age. I am literally out of options now. I've been on lots of medicine from very good doctors to try and help me, but this drug seems to kick off an accelerating aging on the inside of the body. I am at the end of my rope (literally). I am not looking for money, but vindication would be nice.

Posted by

on
Accutane is poison, if only I could go back in time & educate myself before taking this drug. I took the generic version called Isotrentonin in 2013 for the full course of 6 months & suffered barely any side effects, believing I came upon a miracle drug. Little did I know, this drug was going to set me years behind in my life. Two years later I began breaking out again severely so I was prescribed to Isotrentonin for the second round, by the same dermatologist. No one should be prescribed this medication. The risks are too high. I was taking the drug for less than 2 weeks in 2015 & I began hallucinating such amounts I was believing my dreams were real, only these "dreams" were absolute terrors. I had multiple dreams per day or night, saying aloud what was happening, accusing the people around me who were involved in my dreams things they hadn't done. I hallucinated horrible things, myself murdering my friends, wrecking my car, loosing my loved ones, watching my boyfriend be in fatal accidents, people who i cared for betraying me or myself betraying them in the worst possible ways. Seems harmless since they were only hallucinations, right? I had to be watched over by my parents & boyfriend for the remaining month after I stopped taking Isotrentonin, although I was still having hallucinations, just not as frequently. They began to fade & after a month went by I only was having them once or twice a week. I was living with my boyfriend about two months after I stopped taking the drug & the hallucinations came back with rage. They were so bad he didn't know how to deal with me. One morning, I got out of bed after a long night of hallucinating, keeping him up all night with my crazy talk, grabbed my keys & began driving around unfamiliar areas. I walked out of our apartment without any pants or shoes, & I left my phone inside. The scariest thing is I don't remember doing any of this, I had to be told what I had done. One of my terrors was coming to life. After driving for about an hour, I collided head-on with a Suburban, a huge truck. I am not exaggerating when I say I am beyond lucky to be alive today. My car saved my life, a small sports car, but being an Infiniti, was manufactured & built well. I am now suffering from two broken ankles, stitches in both my knees & bruises all over, I can hardly complain since this wreck amazingly did not kill me. I have God to thank for keeping me alive. I was completely sober when this happened, although I don't even remember starting my car. This will be with me the rest of my life. Accutane is no joke. If you
ever are thinking of taking this drug, think again & do some research before poisoning yourself.

Posted by

on
i'd like help sueing Roche for effects i never even knew of

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