A Lamictal lawsuit may be an option for people who have experienced serious complications associated with the drug, including a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Lamictal is a prescription drug used alone or in conjunction with other medications to treat epilepsy and bipolar I disorder.
Although the drug has reportedly been an effective medication for health care systems throughout the world, Lamictal has been linked to other serious, and sometimes life-threatening, side effects and risks. Affected patients and their families may be able to pursue a claim and recover compensation with the help of a dangerous drug attorney.
If you or a loved one have been adversely affected by a potentially dangerous drug, contact Attorney Group to learn about your options. We offer free, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Have You Seen a Lamictal Lawsuit Commercial?
You may have seen a Lamictal lawsuit commercial on television and wondered whether you or a loved one have been affected by it and similar drugs and, if so, whether you are eligible to pursue a claim against the drug manufacturer or distributor. The purpose of this article is to provide you with additional information about lawsuits and other litigation involving dangerous drugs so that you have a better understanding of your options.
What is Lamictal?
Lamictal (lamotrigine) is a prescription medication used in conjunction with other forms of treatment in patients aged two years and older for partial-onset seizures, primary generalized tonic-clonic (PGTC) seizures, and generalized seizures of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Lamictal is also used for conversion to monotherapy in adults (aged 16 years and older) with partial-onset seizures who are receiving treatment with carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or valproate as the single antiepileptic drug (AED).
Patients with bipolar I disorder who are 18 years or older may also be prescribed Lamictal (in addition to standard therapy) as maintenance treatments to delay the occurrence of mood episodes (depression, mania, hypomania, mixed episodes). Lamictal was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1994 and was originally manufactured and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical company headquartered in Brentford, London. Lamictal is now available in generic form under a variety of names throughout the world.
How Does Lamictal Work?
Lamictal is a type of antiepileptic drug (AED). AEDs are most often used to treat epileptic seizures by suppressing the rapid firing of neurons in the brain during seizures.
Also known as anticonvulsants or antiseizure drugs, some AEDs are being used to treat bipolar disorder, as they appear to act as mood stabilizers.
According to the drug’s prescribing information, the precise mechanism(s) by which Lamictal exerts its anticonvulsant action are unknown. It is thought that Lamictal works by stabilizing nerves in the brain by blocking sodium channels, potentially suppressing the build-up and release of chemicals that can be toxic to the brain, such as glutamate and aspartate.
Lamictal Side Effects
According to the drug’s prescribing information, common side effects of Lamictal include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Lack of coordination
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Dry mouth
Lamictal may also cause other side effects or an allergic reaction. It is unknown whether Lamictal will harm an unborn baby or babies who are breastfed. The FDA encourages women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding to seek information from their health care provider about the possible risks of Lamictal.
Lamictal and Steven-Johnsons Syndrome
Lamictal has been linked to Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare, very serious disorder that affects the skin and mucous membranes. Steven-Johnsons syndrome usually requires hospitalization, and the condition may be life-threatening.
Patients with Steven-Johnsons syndrome usually experience fever and other flu-like symptoms at first. A painful rash that spreads and blisters typically follows, eventually causing the top layer of skin to die and shed.
Additional complications associated with Steven-Johnsons syndrome may include secondary skin infection, blood infection, eye problems, lung involvement and permanent skin damage.
Steven-Johnson syndrome is most often treated first by eliminating the underlying cause(s) to control symptoms and other complications of the disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for Steven-Johnsons syndrome begins with discontinuing any medications that may be causing it, including any nonessential medications.
Because the condition may require hospitalization, patients may receive supportive care while in the hospital such as fluid replacement and nutrition, wound care, and eye care. Patients may also receive pain medication, antibiotics to control infection, medication to reduce inflammation of the eyes and mucous membranes, and any other necessary medications.
Other Lamictal Risks
All medications have the potential to cause some sort of reaction. Adverse drug reactions can occur at any time during the administration of a drug. According to Lamictal’s prescribing information, the following adverse reactions may be present during the use of Lamictal:
According to a safety communication issued by the FDA on April 25, 2018, Lamictal may cause a “rare but very serious reaction that excessively activates the body’s infection-fighting immune system” known as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). HLH typically presents as a persistent fever, usually greater than 101°F, and it can lead to severe problems with blood cells and organs throughout the body such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs.
If the reaction is not diagnosed and treated quickly, severe inflammation throughout the body may result and lead to hospitalization and death. Signs and symptoms of HLH may include fever and rash, enlarged liver, swollen lymph nodes, skin rashes, yellow skin or eyes, unusual bleeding, and nervous system problems.
Multiorgan Hypersensitivity Reactions and Organ Failure
Lamictal may be linked to multiorgan hypersensitivity reactions, also known as drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS). In some cases, this reaction was fatal or life-threatening. Signs of DRESS may include fever, rash, and/or lymphadenopathy in association with other organ system involvement (such as hepatitis, nephritis, hematologic abnormalities, myocarditis or myositis), and may sometimes resemble an acute viral infection.
There have been reports of blood dyscrasias (abnormal material in the blood) that may or may not be associated DRESS. These reports have included neutropenia, leukopenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, and, rarely, aplastic anemia and pure red cell aplasia.
Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior
AEDs may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in some patients. According to Lamictal’s prescribing information, an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with AEDs has been observed as early as one week after starting treatment with AEDs and persisted throughout the duration of treatment.
In August 2018, the FDA released a safety alert to inform the public of a link between Lamictal and aseptic meningitis, an inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes. According to the alert, a total of 40 cases of aseptic meningitis were identified after the FDA reviewed adverse event reports submitted between December 1994 and November 2009. Symptoms of meningitis may include headache, fever, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, rash and sensitivity to light.
Lauren A. on May 16, 2016
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Has There Been a Lamictal Recall?
Since the drug’s approval in December 1994, the FDA has not notified the public of a Lamictal recall as a result of any side effect or risk associated with the drug.
Drug recalls may be conducted by the drug manufacturer, by FDA request, or by FDA order.
Future litigation could possibly claim that the drug makers failed to disclose known side effects of the drug and that patients suffered damages as a result.
Likewise, failure to warn of side effects of a drug can be a basis of drug company liability, regardless of whether the drug has been recalled.
Is There a Lamictal Class Action Lawsuit?
At the time of publication, no Lamictal class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of patients who experienced serious complications associated with the drug. Likewise, Lamictal lawsuit attorneys are doubtful that a class action will be certified for patients who are adversely affected by the drug. Instead, if multiple lawsuits are filed against the drug makers alleging injuries and other damages caused by Lamictal and similar drugs, it is anticipated that these lawsuits will be consolidated for discovery and other pretrial proceedings.
When cases are consolidated in this way in federal court it is called a multidistrict litigation (MDL), and on a state level it is known as a state court consolidated proceeding. MDLs are distinct from class actions, and it is generally agreed that consolidating cases instead of proceeding in a class action is a more efficient and effective way of handling claims arising from injuries caused by pharmaceutical products.
Have There Been Any Lamictal Lawsuit Settlements?
Some dangerous drug lawsuits may settle early in the claims process. However, it is not expected that there will be any Lamictal lawsuit settlements at this time. Instead, it is expected that Lamictal lawsuits will be consolidated in federal court through an MDL. Lamictal lawsuit attorneys note that the outcome of any case is never guaranteed, and past results are not necessarily predictive of future outcomes.
Lamictal Lawsuit News
- April 2018FDA warns that Lamictal may cause a “rare but very serious reaction that excessively activates the body’s infection-fighting immune system.” As a result, the agency required a new warning be added to the drug’s prescribing information.
- August 2010FDA issues a safety communication informing the public that Lamictal can cause aseptic meningitis.
- 1997FDA adds a black box warning for Lamictal in 1997, regarding the serious, life-threatening and sometimes fatal rashes reported in both adult and pediatric patients.
- December 1994FDA approves Lamictal in the United States for use as adjunctive therapy in adults with partial seizures.
How a Lamictal Lawsuit Attorney Can Help
Drug makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a drug maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by Lamictal or other similar drugs may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those who have died may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.