Dilantin, Phenytoin Cerebral Atrophy Mass Tort Lawsuit Investigation
If you were prescribed Dilantin (also known by the name phenytoin) and developed cerebellar atrophy or cerebral atrophy, you may be entitled to compensation. Dilantin is an antiepileptic drug available only by prescription and is used to treat epilepsy and control seizures. However, phenytoin use has also been known to increase toxicity in the brain and lead to conditions such as cerebral atrophy. Mass tort lawsuits are being pursued against the manufacturer of Dilantin because of these harmful side effects. Stern Law is not pursuing claims surrounding this drug at this time and provides the following for informational purposes.
What is Cerebral Atrophy?
Atrophy refers to the degeneration of tissue and can come about through a variety of causes. For instance, if a former personal trainer suddenly adopts a sedentary lifestyle, his or her muscles will atrophy or decay over time as the trainer ceases to exercise and train his or her muscles as much as he or she previously did. Atrophy of brain tissue can come about through conditions such as multiple sclerosis, seizures, and toxins such as ethanol (alcohol) and chemotherapy drugs. In addition, brain atrophy can occur as a side effect of certain medications such as Dilantin.
A significantly serious side effect of Dilantin is cerebral atrophy (or brain decay) and cerebellar atrophy. Cerebellar atrophy is decay that is localized in the cerebellum, the portion of the brain that is responsible for posture, balance and coordination, and speech. When the cerebellum decays through atrophy, the victim may experience symptoms similar to a stroke: slurred speech, jerky or “twitching” movements of the arms and legs, rapid “twitching” of the eyeballs, and difficulty in walking.
A study published in 2003 established a link between cerebral atrophy and cerebellar atrophy and prolonged use of Dilantin. When an individual begins to suffer cerebellar atrophy as a result of taking phenytoin, in some cases recovery is possible if the person stops taking phenytoin. Long-term use of Dilantin or phenytoin can cause irreversible brain atrophy. If your doctor has prescribed you Dilantin and you are presently taking the drug, consult with your physician about any concerns of cerebral atrophy you may have.
Why Individuals Join a Dilantin or Phenytoin Cerebral Atrophy Mass Tort Lawsuit
If you or a loved one are exhibiting symptoms of cerebral atrophy after having taken Dilantin, you may require ongoing medical treatment to assist in managing your symptoms. You may also need assistance in the home and may use assistive devices to help you in completing everyday tasks and activities. You may also have experienced a considerable amount of pain and suffering and may not be able to enjoy the same activities you once did. These and other losses and expenses you experienced as a result of your use of Dilantin may make you eligible for compensation.
The manufacturer of drugs like Dilantin has a legal obligation to produce a drug that is as safe as possible and in accordance with government regulations impacting the testing and introduction of new drugs. If a drug is determined to have side effects (such as cerebral atrophy), the manufacturer must provide adequate warnings to the intended users of the drug as to the side effects which may develop through use of the drug as prescribed. This is required so that patients and their doctors can make informed decisions about the course of treatment best suited for the patient. Manufacturers who release a new drug onto the market without conducting the appropriate trials and receiving government approval, manufacturers who market their drug for a use other than the use for which the drug was approved, and/or manufacturers who fail to disclose side effects to patients may be ordered to pay compensation to victims who are injured by the drug.
In a mass tort lawsuit, numerous individuals’ claims against a manufacturer (such as the manufacturer of Dilantin) are consolidated into one mass tort suit. Class members consist of all individuals who share common injuries and claims against the defendant – in the case of Dilantin, class members would include all those who took Dilantin and suffered temporary or permanent cerebral atrophy. The matter is prosecuted by one or more (but not many) class representatives who advance the claims of all class members. If the mass tort lawsuit is successful or if the matter settles, class members share in the monetary damages obtained. Injured individuals may also elect at the outset of a mass tort lawsuit to pursue their own individual lawsuit against the maker of Dilantin: in such a case, these injured patients would not receive any part of any recovery achieved by the class (but they would receive compensation if their own cases were successful).