Local man sues over reaction to Vytorin

By Kelly Holleran | Aug 13, 2009

A Beaumont man who says a cholesterol reducing drug caused his CPK levels to rise up to 24,000 is suing the drug's manufacturers.

James L. Acker claims he began taking Vytorin, which caused his CPK levels to spike to as high as 100 times the normal range, placing him at an increased risk for Myopathy and Rhabdomyolysis.

High CPK levels indicate an injury or stress to the heart, brain or the muscle tissue.

Myopathy is a group of muscular disorders that interfere with the normal range of motion while Rhabdomyolysis breaks down muscle tissue, resulting in release of the tissue into the bloodstream.

Acker claims the Vytorin was defective because of its unsafe chemistry and failed to lower his cholesterol levels any better than a cheaper prescription could have.

In his complaint filed Aug. 7 in Jefferson County District Court, Acker says Schering-Plough and Merck and Co. failed to use reasonable theories of chemistry when developing Vytorin, failed to properly warn him of Vytorin's side effects and negligently enduced him into taking the drug.

"Defendant, Schering-Plough, actions in advertising Vytorin to the general public were unconscionable because Defendant knew or should have known that Vytorin may not have played any role in lowering cholesterol levels and if it did in fact play a role in lowering cholesterol level it worked less effectively than less expensive proven cholesterol lowering medications," the suit states.

Acker says he cannot more specifically allege negligence against Schering-Plough, except to say Vytorin caused his CPK levels to rise up to 24,000.

Because of the problems Acker attributes to Vytorin, he says he has been forced to incur medical costs, experience physical pain, suffering, physical impairment, loss of earnings, loss of consortium, mental anguish and fear of future disease and will continue to incur medical monitoring costs in the future.

Acker is seeking damages within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus exemplary damages, with pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Antoine L. Freeman of Port Arthur will be representing him.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E184-631.

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