Neurotin (generic name gabapentin) is an anti-convulsant drug which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. It was originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy, and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for that use in 1994. In 2002, an indication was added for the treatment of painful neuropathies such as postherpetic neuralgia (neuropathic pain due to shingles) and nerve-related pain.
Additionally, it has been found effective as part of a pharmacological cocktail used to treat addiction to methamphetamine, cocaine and alcohol. Neurontin has also been used to treat migraine headaches, nystagmus, post-operative chronic pain, menopausal hot flashes, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, nerve pain associated with spinal cord injury, and pain and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, it has not been approved for these usages, and when used in these instances is prescribed "off-label" -- without formal regulation or approval.
Even more unfortunately, this drug carries with it some serious side effects, including back pain, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, changes in vision, drowsiness, weight gain and vomiting. More severe side effects, which necessitate immediate medical care, include allergic reactions, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth or lips, abnormal thoughts, aggressive behavior, behavioral problems, chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness in the limbs, seizures, changes in speech, tremors, and twitching. It has also been linked to suicides and suicide attempts.
In a whistleblower lawsuit, filed in 2002, it was alleged that Parke-Davis, the Pfizer subsidiary which manufactures Neurontin, paid to have small and inexpensive but favorable clinical studies written up for publication in medical journals. The lawsuit also claimed that salesmen were instructed to whisper off-label uses for the drug in physician's ears, that physicians were wined and dined at lavish functions during which Neurontin was highly praised, and that physicians were rewarded for writing certain numbers of prescriptions for Neurontin.
If you, or someone you love, has been prescribed Neurontin and has suffered any of the above side effects, particularly if Neurontin was prescribed off-label, you too may have a lawsuit against the drug's manufacturer. If a family member was prescribed Neurontin, particularly for an off-label purpose, and later committed suicide, there may also be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. A number of claims against Parke-Davis have been brought and successfully argued, so there are attorneys with experience in this particular kind of case.
Contact an attorney today to find out if your prescription for Neurontin may have led to damaging side effects, and if you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical bills, your time lost from work, and your pain and suffering as a result. A qualified medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer, especially one who specializes in medication and off-label prescription cases, will be able to assess your situation and advise you as to the viability of your lawsuit.
Take your medical records with you, and be prepared to discuss your medical history in depth at the initial consultation, which the attorney will most likely provide free of charge. Additionally, most lawyers who specialize in these types of cases work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will not require payment for their services upfront, but will instead recoup their fees as a percentage of the final settlement you receive. This means that not only do you have to worry about paying them at the beginning of the case, but that they will work extra hard on your behalf, in order to secure you the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled as a result of your Neurontin use.