A Brief Guide to Filing a Gabapentin Lawsuit
What is Gabapentin?
Gabapentin, which goes by the brand names Gabarone, Fanatrex and Horizant, comes in tablet, liquid and capsule form to help control certain types of seizures in people suffering from epilepsy. Gabapentin belongs to a class of medications called anticonvulsants; the drug is effective by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.
In addition to treating certain types of seizures, Gabapentin is used to relieve the pain of PHN (postherpetic neuralgia; the stabbing or burning pain that occurs after shingles). It is effective in this form by altering the way the body senses pain. Although effective, Gabapentin comes with an assortment of side effects. For more information on Gabapentin side effects, please read below:
Gabapentin Side Effects:
Gabapentin side effects may occur even if you adhere to your doctor’s prescription instructions. If the following Gabapentin side effects are severe or persistent, please contact your doctor:
Common Gabapentin Side Effects Include: drowsiness; weakness; dizziness; uncontrollable shaking of the body; blurred or double vision; strange or unusual thoughts; memory problems; unwanted eye movements; vomiting; nausea; heartburn; dry mouth; constipation; increased appetite; weight gain; swelling of the hands, ankles or lower legs; joint pain; runny nose; ear pain; itchy eyes.
Other Gabapentin side effects are classified as serious. If you experience the following Gabapentin side effects you must seek immediate medical attention:
Serious Gabapentin Side Effects include: rash; hoarseness; difficulty breathing or swallowing; seizures and swelling of the throat, tongue, eyes or lips.
Other Gabapentin side effects may occur. Please contact your doctor if you experience unusal Gabapentin side effects.
Gabapentin and the FDA:
In 1994, Gabapentin was approved by the FDA to treat seizures. Gabapentine dosages are combined with other anticonvulsant medications to prevent seizures and associated symptoms.
Sold by Pfizer under the name Neurontin, the severity of Gabapentine side effects became a matter of increasing public concern in 1996. The first prominent Gabapentin lawsuit was filed by Dr. David Franklin a Pfizer employee. This Gabapentine lawsuit alleged that the company was defrauding the government.
The basis for this Gabapentine lawsuit revolved around the over prescription of the drug; Franklin's testimony stated that the drug’s label deliberately pursuit increased sales without a concern for abuse.
Doctors, according to the Gabapentine lawsuit, were urged to prescribe the medication for off-label purposes. In addition to this practice, some doctors—according to the Gabapentine lawsuit-- received illegal payments in return for prescribing a Gabapentine dosage. Since the cost of this medication was often paid for by Medicaid, Franklin charged that federal funds had been fraudulently used.
It is not illegal for a doctor to prescribe a Gabapentine dosage for a purpose other than controlling epilepsy or neuralgia; however, companies cannot advertise usage of the drug for non-FDA approved purposes. Ultimately, Franklin's Gabapentin lawsuit resulted in Pfizer agreeing to pay $430 million to the Department of Justice--this remains one of the twenty largest pharmaceutical company settlements in history.
In the wake of this Gabapentine lawsuit, many Gabapentine lawsuits concerning side effects were launched. Often, the foundation of these Gabapentine lawsuits was the claim that prescription information failed to sufficiently warn of the risk of suicidal thoughts. More than 1,200 cases concerning Gabapentine side effects were filed in the wake of the 2004 Gabapentine lawsuit. However, no Gabapentin lawsuit concerning a suicide resulted in a settlement until 2010.
Rather than focusing on Gabapentine side effects, the Gabapentine lawsuit in 2010 concerned racketeering law. The insurance company Kaiser sued Pfizer over its aggressive promotion of Gabapentine dosage as a multi-use off-label drug--this Gabapentin lawsuit resulted in a $141 million settlement.
Individual Gabapentine lawsuits concerning the drug’s side effects may still be filed—often these Gabapentine lawsuits are filed by the loved ones of suicide victims. These Gabapentine lawsuits seek compensation from the manufacturer, claiming that the drug-maker failed to warn of suicidal thoughts when using the drug. Gabapentine lawsuits of this nature seek remuneration for pain and suffering.
The success of winning Gabapentine lawsuits; however, is somewhat ambiguous. While Gabapentine lawsuits concerning fraud have been successful, class action litigation regarding Gabapentine side effects has been met with only limited success.
1. United States National Library of Medicine “Gabapentin” retrieved from: