Humira is an injectable drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis, Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Humira is a member of a class of drugs called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. Tumor necrosis factor is a protein occurring naturally within the human body that is capable of killing tumor cells.
The drug, manufactured by Abbot Laboratories, was originally released in 2002. Almost immediately following its release, the FDA began receiving complaints from patients who experienced severe neurological problems following administration of the drug. These neurological disorders include injury to the brain and optic neurotis – an inflammation of the optic nerve causing severe discomfort and vision impairments.
In the following years, it became clear that neurological problems were not the only severe side effects associated with use of Humira. The TNF inhibitors present in Humira and other similar drugs can reduce the number of blood cells within the body that help to fight off infections. Patients receiving the Humira treatment are at a much greater risk of developing autoimmune disorders such as lupus-like syndrome. Once the immune system is weakened, patients run the serious risk of developing tuberculosis and other bacterial, viral, and invasive fungal infections. Fungal infections are uncommon and may be difficult to identify. They can also be deadly if not treated properly.
Even more disturbing are Humira’s side effects when used to treat ulcerative colitis or Chron’s disease. A recent study concluded that patients receiving the Humira treatment for these conditions are 3-5% more likely to develop lymphoma, a dangerous form of cancer that occurs in the white blood cells. Many of these patients went on to develop a very rare type of lymphoma called Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma. This rare form of cancer destroys the white blood cells, leaving the body extremely vulnerable to infection. T-cell lymphoma can also spread into the liver, spleen, and marrow of the bone which can leave the patient with brittle and easily breakable bones. T-cell lymphoma is almost always fatal. The FDA recently revealed that this type of cancer was seen most often in adolescent and young male users of Humira for the treatment of Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In 2008, the FDA required Abbot to place a warning label on Humira, advising consumers of the risk of this dangerous cancer.
Because the TNF inhibitors reduce the body’s ability to kill its own tumors, use of Humira also increases the risks of developing other more common types of cancer, including breast, colon, prostate, lung, and melanoma (skin cancer). Additionally, Humira has been known to cause Hepatitis B and liver failure.
Over the past few years, patients who received the Humira treatment and subsequently developed many of these side effects began to file lawsuits against Abbot, claiming that Abbot knew of the possible life threatening side effects associated with the drug, and failed to properly warn patients and physicians about the dangers of the drug. In support of that claim, information has come to light that the FDA immediately began forwarding the complaints of side effects they received from consumers on to Abbot as early as 2002, yet the drug was neither removed from the market nor altered in any way.
If you or someone you know developed neurological disorders, fungal infections, lymphoma, Hepatitis B, or any other form of cancer following the use of Humira, you may be entitled to recover for your injuries. Please contact the experienced defective drug attorneys at Dolman Law Group, for a free consultation and case evaluation. 727-451-6900.