On March 30, 2007, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis suspended all marketing and sales of Zelnorm, a popular prescription medication used to treat the “constipation predominant” aspects of the debilitating condition known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. There are three main types of IBS:
- Diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D),
- Constipation-predominant (IBS-C)
- Alternating stool pattern (IBS-A).
- A fourth type called IBS-PI, or post-infectious IBS, can occur after an infectious illness in conjunction with fever, acute diarrhea, vomiting, and a positive stool culture.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects approximately 12 million Americans each year, and is characterized by a number of broad and diverse symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal discomfort
- Alteration of bowel habits
Zelnorm is a popular prescription medication used to treat the “constipation predominant” aspects of the debilitating condition known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Unfortunately, results of recent short term and randomized studies indicate that Zelnorm could potentially cause a number of serious and potentially fatal side effects including:
- Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Angina Pectoris, or chest pain caused by the lack of oxygen to the heart muscle
Zelnorm is also believed to be linked to a number of gastrointestinal problems such as Ischemic Colitis, Intestinal Ischemia, and Colonic Ischemia.
The Food and Drug Administration issued the recall of Zelnorm because they determined that the risks of the drug outweigh the benefits. After reviewing the results of a study wherein 13 people out of 11,614 suffered serious cardiac events as opposed to one case out of 7,031 people taking placebos, Novartis and the FDA concluded that this was a statistically significant coincidence, and thus determined further review was necessary in order to prevent potential injury to the public at large.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Zelnorm?
Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Zelnorm, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Zelnorm lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.