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Accutane Concerns Stretch Back Years

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Santa Fe, NMAlthough Accutane has been off the market for a few years, some Accutane lawsuits may still be considered by patients who believe they suffered Accutane side effects. Concerns about Accutane side effects, which reportedly include depression, suicidal thoughts and inflammatory bowel disease, date back almost 20 years.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show Marketplace reported back in 2001 about serious concerns linked to Accutane. Those concerns surrounded the alleged risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. According to the article, in 1995, a Canadian medical student filed a lawsuit against Hoffman LaRoche, maker of Accutane, alleging the medication caused her to have dramatic rages and depression. That lawsuit was settled out of court in June 2000 for a confidential amount.

At the time of its report, Marketplace noted that since Accutane was put on the market in 1982 up to 2001, more than 1,300 psychiatric side effects and up to 66 suicides were linked to the drug, causing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to examine whether Accutane needed stronger warnings. In the end, the FDA required doctors to have patients sign a consent form before they are given Accutane. That consent form requires patients to understand all the side effects associated with the drug.

In addition to concerns about depression and suicidal thoughts are concerns about ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Lawsuits have been filed concerning those side effects. In at least some of the lawsuits, juries have sided with the plaintiffs. In June 2012, a jury found in favor of plaintiffs Kathleen Rossitto and Riley Wilkinson, and awarded each $9 million in compensatory damages, Bloomberg (6/29/12) reports. The jury found that the maker of Accutane did not accurately warn the plaintiffs about the risk of inflammatory bowel disease linked to the medication.

Despite the findings, however, the jury rejected two other claims by plaintiffs that their injuries were caused by Accutane.

Accutane was pulled off the market in 2009. Roche has defended itself against lawsuits, saying it acted appropriately in warning patients and health care providers about the risks associated with its acne medication. But according to Bloomberg, as of June 2012, Roche had lost nine of 13 lawsuits that went to trial since 2007, although appeals courts have thrown out some verdicts, including a $10.5 million award that was overturned because of an evidentiary issue.

The lawsuit is Kathleen Rossitto v. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc, ATL-I-7481-10-MT.

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