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Neurontin Suicides (Off Label Usage)
Doctors prescribe epilepsy drugs to millions of patients. Aside from treating epilepsy, however, anti-seizure medications treat a variety of illnesses including migraines, nerve-pain disorders and bipolar disorder.
According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Pfizer Inc.’s Neurontin is a commonly prescribed epilepsy drug linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Individuals taking this epilepsy drug may experience twice as many suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and a host of physical problems ranging from blurred vision and persistent sore throat to severe anxiety and breathing difficulties.
Children taking Neurontin may suffer additional side effects, ranging from mood and behavioral changes to attention problems and amnesia.
What Is Being Done About Neurontin
The FDA has warned medical professionals to “balance the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors” with the clinical need for the drug before prescribing it. Healthcare providers have been directed to inform patients, families, and caregivers of the potential for increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors, including:
- Talking or thinking about hurting oneself or ending one’s life
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Becoming depressed or worsening depression
- Preoccupation with death and dying
- Giving away prized possessions
Special Risks of Neurontin
Neurontin is prescribed for epilepsy but has been used ‘off label’ to treat numerous disorders. Approximately 80 percent of all Neurontin prescriptions are filled for off-label medical conditions, such as chronic pain, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder and migraines. While off label usage of a drug is not illegal, the marketing of a drug for treatment of a condition for which it is not approved is illegal. Parke-Davis, the manufacturer of Neurontin, has systematically marketed and promoted the drug for untested uses since 2000.
To further complicate the issue, Parke-Davis was accused in May 2003 of providing kickbacks to doctors, such as expensive trips and tickets to the Olympics, in exchange for prescribing Neurontin.
If you or a loved one is taking antidepressants and notice behavioral changes or an increase in suicidal thoughts, contact your medical provider immediately.
The following conditions are not approved for treatment with Neurontin:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Pain Syndromes, Peripheral Neuropathy, and Diabetic Neuropathy
- Treatment of Epilepsy 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
- Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures
Has a physician prescribed Neurontin to you or a loved one for the treatment of any one of these conditions? If you have suffered side effects, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries, illness or death. The Yost Legal Group is a highly qualified drug side-effects law firm with a successful track record of prosecuting cases of illness, injury or death due to off-label drug use.
You are not alone in your fight for justice. Please contact The Yost Legal Group today to schedule your private, free consultation.
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Disclaimer: The Baltimore Injury Attorneys of The Yost Legal Group provide information about personal injury lawsuits, including Neurontin, Product Liability and Medical Malpractice. It is not meant to be taken as formal legal advice. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, please contact an injury lawyer at our Baltimore, Maryland office today.