Accutane and Crohn’s Disease

The link between taking Accutane and developing Crohn’s disease, an incurable gastrointestinal condition, has been highlighted by various studies and has been the basis for more than 425 lawsuits filed against Hoffman-LaRoche (now LaRoche Pharmaceuticals), the manufacturer of Accutane in the U.S. Generically referred to as isotretinoin and first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982, Accutane is a powerful form of vitamin A that has been used to treat severe acne and some forms of cancer due to its ability to:

  • reduce the size and amount of oil produced by certain types of skin glands
  • destroy rapidly dividing cells, including those that become blackheads and whiteheads
  • kill acne-producing bacteria on the skin
  • reduce the skin swelling associated with acne

Accutane has only been prescribed in the past when all other acne treatments fail, and it is generally only taken for a course of four to six months. Approximately 16 million individuals worldwide have taken Accutane.

Studies Highlight Link Between Accutane and Crohn’s Disease

Research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2006 highlighted the increased risk that Accutane patients have of developing Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease in which any part of the digestive tract (from the mouth to the anus) becomes inflamed and can cause:

  • arthritis
  • bloody stools
  • cramping
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • swelling of the skin, liver or bile ducts
  • ulcers
  • weight gain

Accutane users should see their doctors immediately, if they develop any of the above symptoms. To confirm or rule out a Crohn’s disease diagnosis, doctors may perform a blood test, colonoscopy, enema, CT scan or MRI.

Once Crohn’s disease has been diagnosed, treatments focus on minimizing the symptoms of the condition, as there is currently no cure for it. Although anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, immune suppressant medications and other drugs can help manage the condition, patients will have to live with a decrease in their quality of life (due to chronic cramping, diarrhea, etc.).

Due to findings that Accutane causes Crohn’s disease (among a range of other serious side effects), Hoffman-LaRoche pulled Accutane from U.S. markets in 2009.

Compensation for Accutane-Related Crohn’s Disease

If you or a loved one has used Accutane and has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, you may have a strong legal claim against Hoffman-LaRoche and you will be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, loss of quality of life, pain and suffering. Injured Accutane users are welcome to receive a free, no obligation initial consultation with one of the dangerous drug lawyers at Chaffin Luhana LLP to learn more about their legal rights and to get on the path to winning the settlement they deserve.