When your doctor prescribed Neurontin (also known as Gabapentin), it may have sounded like a miracle drug. Maybe your doctor told you that Neurontin would treat your anxiety, but without the risk of addiction that comes with other drugs like Ativan. Or maybe you were told that Neurontin would cure the seemingly unending nightmare that is restless leg syndrome. Unfortunately, in 2003 a whistleblower reported that Neurontin not only was never federally approved for such off-label uses, but the manufacturer of the drug has no evidence that Neurontin is even effective for these medical conditions.
Whether Neurontin ultimately caused you double vision, persistent fever, or suicidal tendencies, take a look at the information below to learn how you can get compensated for your injuries by bringing your own Neurontin lawsuit.
What Is Neurontin?
Neurontin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994 as an add-on treatment for controlling partial seizures associated with epilepsy, and later approved for the management of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) caused by shingles (herpes zoster). Sales of Neurontin have been reported to exceed $2.7 billion. As a result, the drug has been a source of dispute among many consumer groups, including Public Citizen, which continues to dispute and oppose Neurontin's success on the market, calling it "the most complete and well-documented case of off-label promotion to ever come into public view."
In July, 2003, Dateline NBC aired a story which came to light in 2002 when a corporate whistleblower exposed how Warner-Lambert, now part of Pfizer, "deliberately distorted information," about Neurontin, "possibly putting lives at risk ... in what may be one of the biggest medical deceptions in history." Pfizer has since been paying heavy fines and settling nationwide lawsuit claims for Warner-Lambert's illegal and deceptive practices.
Do I Have a Case Against Neurontin?
In 1996, Neurontin started being researched for many off-label uses and has since been aggressively promoted and prescribed for these 11 uses (for which it was not found effective):
- Bipolar Disorder;
- Pain Syndromes, Peripheral Neuropathy, and Diabetic Neuropathy;
- Treatment of Epilepsy alone (as monotherapy);
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD);
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD);
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS);
- Trigeminal Neuralgia;
- Post-Hepatic Neuralgia (PHN);
- Essential Tremor Periodic Limb Movement;
- Migraine; and
- Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures.
The common side effects for Neurontin are generally mild, but some experienced decreased coordination, changes in vision (double or blurred vision), back and forth eye movements, persistent sore throat or fever, swelling of ankles, mood changes, memory loss, or trouble speaking. If you experienced any of the more serious side effects, talk with your doctor right away. However, these side effects are minor compared with Neurontin's most dangerous potential side effect: suicidal tendency. Children are particularly susceptible to this dangerous side effect.
In May 2004, Pfizer paid $430 million and plead guilty to criminal charges for illegally marketing Neurontin off-label to treat migraine headaches and other pain. Plaintiffs in cases such as this typically seek to recover damages for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Neurontin lawsuits are based on the idea that Neurontin's manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings of the dangers of taking Neurontin. Additionally, while your doctor is free to prescribe you medications off-label, it's illegal for drug manufacturers to advertise their drug for off-label uses. Some lawsuits have been based Neurontin's manufacturer's illegal advertising. Talk with a doctor right away and seek alternative treatment immediately if you notice yourself or your child having:
- Behavior problems;
- Sudden mood or personality changes;
- A hard time concentrating and changes in schoolwork or on the job; or
- Suicidal or other destructive thoughts or behaviors.
Note: There is no shame in suicidal thoughts. If you are thinking about ending your life or otherwise hurting yourself, reach out right away to someone who can help: Text “GO” to 741741 (the Crisis Text Line) or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Normal texting and call rates apply, but both services are free and confidential 24/7.
Do You Suffer from Dangerous Side Effects? Get a Free Claim Review
Have you been prescribed Neurontin for off-label uses? Even if you are taking Neurontin for the purposes for which it was approved by the FDA, you still may experience dangerous side effects. If so, you could potentially have a claim against the drugmaker for a lawsuit. Get a free claim review from an experienced personal injury attorney.
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More Neurontin Resources
The Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") Drug Website
The FDA's special website dedicated to drugs and medications resources