This most recent lawsuit was filed by a woman who took Humira to treat Crohn's disease, according to Bloomberg Businessweek (04/26/11). The lawsuit alleges that the patient was treated at the Mayo Clinic for nerve damage in her feet; the doctors who treated the patient said the nerve damage was most likely caused by the use of Humira. The plaintiff alleges that Abbott knew Humira had a risk of peripheral neuropathy but still marketed the mediation to patients with Crohn's disease.
Kara Mae Pletan, plaintiff in the lawsuit, alleges that doctors reported in 2006 that Humira was linked to peripheral neuropathy. She claims that after receiving Humira injections for three months in 2008, she developed permanent peripheral neuropathy, which forced her to alter her daily activities and sell her store.
This is not the first lawsuit filed against Abbott Laboratories concerning Humira. Early in 2011, a lawsuit was filed by a patient with rheumatoid arthritis, who claimed she developed lymphoma after taking Humira. The patient reportedly took Humira as part of a clinical trial in 2005. The plaintiff alleges that Abbott knew there was a three- to fivefold increased risk of cancer in patients taking Humira but did not warn participants in the trial about that risk.
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Humira is in a class of drugs known as tumor necrosis factor-blockers. Drugs in the class reportedly stop cancer-killing cells in the body from working. Humira, known generically as adalimumab, was initially approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Meanwhile, in 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning that young patients treated for Crohn's and ulcerative colitis with tumor necrosis factor blockers, azathioprine and/or mercaptopurine were at an increased risk of Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma (HSTCL). Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma is an aggressive cancer that is often fatal.