Has your physician prescribed Onfi to you or to someone you love? If so, you need to be aware of this drug’s potential for causing an autoimmune reaction that can, in some cases, be fatal. From Anxiety to Seizures Onfi, or clobazam, is a derivative of benzodiazepine. Although its manufacturers originally intended it for anxiety management, researchers took little time in uncovering its anticonvulsant potential. In October 2011, the United States approved Onfi for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, or LGS, a difficult-to-manage form of epilepsy that is common in early childhood. While Onfi may prove effective in the beginning, two factors blunt its usefulness. Over time, the drug loses its antiepileptic power as recipients build up a tolerance. In addition, abrupt withdrawal can trigger rebound seizures. Onfi’s Potentially Deadly Side Effects Many a prescription drug lawsuit lawyer has become aware of Onfi’s potential for provoking a deadly autoimmune reaction. A certain percentage of those who take it will fall victim to Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or SJS, and Toxic Epidermal Necrosis, also known as TEN. In each of these disorders, the body comes to view the skin and mucous membranes as invasive foreigners bent on its destruction. This causes it to fight back by inducing painful sores, rashes and ulcerating lesions in a misguided attempt at defense. Early Symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome In the earliest stages, SJS sufferers will complain of flu-like symptoms such as weakness, muscle aches and fatigue. Before long, however, rashes and sores appear on the skin and frequently spread to the mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth. As the disorder progresses, damage can escalate to the internal organs. The lesions of SJS can give rise to unsightly scarring. If this reaches the eyes, permanent blindness may result. Five percent of SJS patients do not live to tell about it. Those who do, often suffer permanent physical damage. Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Once a case of SJS has spread to over 30 percent of the patient’s body, it has already morphed into toxic epidermal necrolysis, a condition in which the ulcerated skin begins to die. As the body sloughs it off in patches, sufferers not only undergo extreme pain but also become highly susceptible to infection and dehydration. At this point, the patient is in serious trouble. A full 40 percent of those who reach this stage will never recover. No Easy Cure For sufferers of SJS and TEN, treatment options are few. Those that do exist are unproven and even controversial. These include:
- Debridement. In this treatment, doctors scrape off the dead and ulcerated skin in the hope that this will allow the remaining layers to heal. Unfortunately, not all physicians agree on its effectiveness.
- Steroids. While these normally prove the treatment of choice for other autoimmune disorders, they rarely work in cases of SJS or TEN. In fact, steroids often cause these conditions to worsen while increasing the rate of complications.
- Palliative treatment. With no other options available, doctors frequently resort to supportive symptom therapy, hoping that the patient will survive and recover on their own.
Has Onfi Caused You to Experience Serious Side Effects? If you have developed SJS or TEN as the result of taking Onfi, you may have legal recourse. You also have options. If you wish to join with others in your fight for justice, a class action lawsuit attorney can assist in handling your case. If you prefer to go it alone, the expertise of a good drug lawsuit attorney will help you obtain the restitution you deserve. In either case, with the help of competent legal representation, you can rest assured that you will not have to fight this battle alone.