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AUTOIMMUNE MEDICATION LINKED TO HEALTH RISKS IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS

H.P. Acthar Gel, or Acthar, is an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) prescribed to treat infantile spasms, multiple sclerosis in adults, and several other rheumatic, dermatologic, ophthalmic, and respiratory-related disorders and diseases. Acthar, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1952, is manufactured by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

The pharmaceutical drug is administered subcutaneously (under the skin) or intramuscular. Common adverse reactions to Acthar include:

  • Fluid retention
  • Alteration in glucose tolerance
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Hypertension
  • Irritability

Unfortunately, Acthar is associated with many serious side effects as well. These serious side effects can alter a person’s quality of life significantly, and in some extreme cases, they can cause death.

ACTHAR INCREASES RISK OF SEVERE INFECTIONS, ADRENAL GLAND ISSUES

H.P. Acthar Gel has been linked to an increased risk of infections when treating for infantile spasms in children under two years of age. Acthar can lower the ability of the immune system to fight off infections. In addition, the drug may:

  • Make children more likely to get new infections
  • Worsen an existing infection
  • Cause an inactive infection to become active

Signs of an infection after using Acthar include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms

The adrenal glands are affected by Acthar use — while taking the drug and after stopping the treatment. Children who stop taking Acthar may experience adrenal insufficiency because their body may not produce enough cortisol on its own. Symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of weight
  • Decreased appetite
  • Low energy
  • Paleness
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever

Alternatively, when a child is receiving Acthar injections, the adrenal gland may produce too much of the hormone cortisol. Too much of the hormone can cause the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, including:

  • Upper body fat around the neck
  • Weight gain
  • Rounded or “moon” face
  • Easy bruising
  • Weak bones

ADDITIONAL SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS CAUSED BY ACTHAR IN CHILDREN

Other issues that may arise when children use Acthar include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Low potassium in the blood
  • Masking symptoms of other conditions and diseases
  • Stomach and intestinal problems (bleeding of the stomach or intestine)
  • Cataracts and glaucoma
  • Make diabetes worse
  • Enlarged heart

ACTHAR MANUFACTURERS RELEASE ADVERSE EVENT DATA

In 2014, the New York Times reported that Acthar’s manufacturer reported, for the first time, a report on adverse events caused by the drug. In 2013, adverse events, or side effects, were reported in almost 14 percent of prescriptions dispensed.

Between 2011 and 2013, there were 3,100 adverse events reported from patients on Acthar, many of which claimed the drug made them seriously ill and caused life-threatening health complications. In addition, since 2012, there have been 20 deaths and six disabilities associated with its use.

CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED DANGEROUS DRUG LAWYER

Acthar is a dangerous drug that can cause severe health problems in children and adults alike. There have been serious and deadly illnesses caused by the drug, yet the medication remains on the market for consumers. If you or a loved one have been injured after taking H.P. Acthar Gel, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our drug litigation attorneys are available to hear your claim and provide you with a free legal consultation.

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