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Accutane Side Effects Include Crohn’s Disease

Charles Pulikowski | January 5th, 2012 | Posted in Accutane Crohns Disease News

Some Accutane patients exchanged visions of blemish-free faces for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other debilitating conditions of the gastrointestinal system. Complaints were so severe and common that Roche, the maker of Accutane, removed their product from the market in 2009.

Accutane, or isotretinoin in its generic form, was developed to treat cystic acne and other serious skin conditions. In practice, the medication was also prescribed to patients suffering from mild to moderate acne breakouts. Patients who suffer from Accutane side effects allege that Roche did not adequately disclose and even minimized the drug’s side effects, thus allowing their customers to develop inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and similar conditions.

Accutane Crohn’s Disease Has No Cure

Accutane side effects commonly include rash, skin irritation, dry eyes, permanent thin skin, headaches, thinning hair, and peeling skin, among others. As if this weren’t enough, some patient’s also experience more severe and less common side effects that extended to joint pain, depression, hepatitis and problems in the gastrointestinal tract.

Crohn’s disease is among the digestive problems associated with Accutane. Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel condition that is thought to be an autoimmune disease. A normal immune system protects the body from harm, but in a patient with Crohn’s, the body may attack sections of its own gastrointestinal system. This condition leads to chronic inflammation, which causes abdominal discomfort, diarrhea and vomiting. Crohn’s disease may also cause ulcers throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

A similar condition, and one also related to Accutane, is ulcerative colitis. However, while Crohn’s is present throughout the digestive system, patients with ulcerative colitis have ulcers in their colon, or large intestine. Symptoms are similar to Crohn’s, and both conditions have no cure. Patients must manage their diseases through diet, medication and other therapies.

Accutane Patients File for Corporate Negligence

Thousands of affected patients have filed against Roche, citing negligence and failure to accurately disclose Accutane’s side effects. One such case is that of Andrew McCarrell, who developed such a severe case of inflammatory bowel disease that he was forced to undergo surgery to remove his colon and rectum. Judge Carol E. Higbee oversaw McCarrell’s case and commented that McCarrell’s “… testimony and that of his wife and doctors presented a picture of probably the worst case of pain, suffering and loss of quality of life I ever heard described in my eighteen years on the bench.”

Judge Higbee awarded McCarrell a $25 million Accutane settlement. As more patients come forward, it is expected that Roche will be paying out other large settlements due to its failure to inform patients of risks associated with its product.

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