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Side effects

Drug side effects left woman blind and scarred

Friday, December 17, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: side effects, dangerous drugs, health news

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(NaturalNews) A federal jury has ordered Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. to pay $21 million to a woman who was blinded and scarred in an adverse reaction to an anti-inflammatory drug.

In January 2005, Karen Bartlett of Pliastow, NH, began taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) known generically as sulindac in order to relieve chronic shoulder pain. Sulindac is also marketed by Merck as Clinoril, and is in the same drug family as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

Two weeks after beginning the drug, Bartlett began to suffer irritation around her eyes and noticed red spots developing on her face. Two days later, suffering from a still-worsening rash and feeling as if she had pebbles in her throat and under her eyelids, she was admitted to the hospital.

Doctors diagnosed her with a potentially fatal skin disease known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (SJS/TEN), characterized by inflammation of the eyes and mucus membranes. SJS/TEN can produce rashes so severe that the body's entire outer layer of skin is burned off.

Bartlett spent 112 days in five different hospitals as the disease continued to burn away her skin and the tissue from her throat, stomach and lungs. Although she did survive, she was left permanently disabled and legally blind.

"It literally burned her alive," her lawyer Keith Jensen said. "It burned 65 percent of the skin off her body ... It burned her inside and out."

SJS/TEN is a known potential side effect of all NSAID drugs, but sulindac carries the highest risk of it.

"Before you start taking common ... drugs, you may need to inform yourself about this often-fatal reaction," writes Andreas Moritz in Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation.

"The list of drugs that may be problematic includes antiepileptic and anticonvulsant drugs, sulfonamides, ampicillin, allopurinol and [NSAIDs], as well as some vaccinations (such as anthrax)."

Sources for this story include: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews... ; http://norfolk.injuryboard.com/fda-and-presc....

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