Lawsuit alleges anti-psychotic medication caused diabetes

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 22, 2009, 2:57am

A Texas woman is claiming the medication she took for a mental disorder caused her to develop diabetes, and says the medication's risks were not worth the benefits.

Misty Peters was taking the drug Seroquel, which is an atypical anti-psychotic that is used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other "off-label" uses.

Peters filed a product liability lawsuit against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP on Oct. 15 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

According to court records, Seroquel is thought to block or moderate the level of dopamine, a chemical found in the brain which if in excessive amounts can cause abnormal thinking and hallucinations.

The plaintiff alleges that the defendant heavily marketed the drug, promising it had fewer side effects and offering doctors incentives to increase prescriptions.

"These marketing efforts were designed and implemented to create the impression in physicians', patients' and plaintiff's minds that Seroquel was safe and effective and that it carried less risk of side effects and adverse reactions than other available treatments," the lawsuit states.

However, Peters alleges the defendants were aware of numerous reports of diabetes associated with the drug's usage.

"The use of Seroquel was known by the AstraZeneca Defendants to cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries including, but not limited to, keotacidosis, pancreatitis and diabetic mellitus, and other serious health problems associated with diabetes including heart disease, blindness, coma, seizures and death," the court documents argue.

Peters states that by 2003, the defendant had received 69 reports of patients developing diabetes associated with their use of the drug.

The plaintiff argues the defendants failed to warn its U.S. patients of this increased risk, but did warn Japanese patients with different labels. Peters states that had she known the full extent of the risks associated with the drug, she would not have taken it.

Causes of action filed against the defendants include fraud, fraudulent concealment, negligence and recklessness, negligence per se, negligent misrepresentations, failure to warn, defective design, breach of express and implied warranty, unjust enrichment and violations of consumer protection laws.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for pain, suffering, emotional distress, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, economic loss, pre and post-judgment interest and attorney's fees.

Houston attorney Terry Bryant, Baton Rouge attorneys Philip Bohrer and Scott E. Brady of the Bohrer Law Firm and San Francisco attorneys Steve Skikos and Jane Joseph of the law firm Skikos, Crawford, Skikos, Joseph and Millican are representing the plaintiff.

The plaintiff is requesting a jury trial.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone will preside over the litigation.

Case No 1:09cv00912

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