The acne drug Accutane has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease. In fact, a 2010 study conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill found that patients who took Accutane or its generic form isotretinoin were four times more likely to develop UC than patients who did not take the acne drugs.

Like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease a form of inflammatory bowel disease and an autoimmune disorder of the digestive system. However, Crohn’s disease can affect all or any portion of the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum while UC affects only the large intestine.

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Changes in menstruation
  • Fever (low-grade, but persistent)
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling or redness near the mouth or eyes
  • Ulcers
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent bowel movements

Over time, swelling and scarring of the affected tissue can cause a narrowing or obstruction of the intestines. This can cause additional symptoms, including:

  • Gurgling or other sounds in the stomach
  • Bloating after eating
  • Cramping
  • Constipation
  • Impacted bowels

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and improving the patient’s quality of life through medication and dietary restriction. Treatment is not always effective. For many patients the discomfort of Crohn’s disease lasts a lifetime. In cases of severe damage, parts of the digestive tract may need to be surgically removed.

More than 6,000 lawsuits have been filed against the Roche Group, the maker of Accutane, by patients suffering from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. If you are suffering from Crohn’s disease caused by Accutane use, you also have a right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering through an Accutane class action lawsuit. To learn more, contact the Milwaukee pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.