The manufacturer of Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw), an intravenous treatment for thyroid eye disease (TED), has been under fire since its introduction. A link between the drug and serious hearing issues has been seen among many users, which has led to Tepezza lawsuits being filed nationwide.
In the latest news, consolidation of Tepezza lawsuits against the drugmaker Horizon Therapeutics USA Inc. was approved for multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Illinois in July. According to the MDL transfer order, centralization of the Tepezza lawsuits offers an opportunity to substantially streamline pretrial proceedings, reduce duplicative discovery and conflicting pretrial obligations. Horizon opposed the consolidation, arguing that there are not enough actions to justify the creation of an MDL. The decision for the MDL, which Judge Thomas Durkin of Chicago will oversee, is just the latest in a string of legal actions against Horizon, which first released Tepezza in 2020.
How Tepezza Treats Thyroid Eye Disease
Thyroid eye disease is an infliction that affects roughly 19 in 100,000 people and causes the muscles and fatty tissues behind the eye to become inflamed. It is known to cause significant irritation, itching, bulging of the eye and potentially double-vision. It’s common among those diagnosed with Graves’ disease.
It is not unusual for those diagnosed with thyroid eye disease to be referred to neuro-ophthalmologists or oculoplastic surgeons specializing in rare diseases. Tepezza is the first medication of its kind to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat TED. Before Tepezza’s release, the most common treatments were surgery, steroidal and monoclonal medications.
Tepezza is administered by a series of infusions that continue for several months. The drug works by decreasing inflammation and blocking the IGF-1R receptor, reducing muscle and tissue swelling.
In the first year after Tepezza’s FDA approval, Horizon reported that the drug had $1.7 billion in sales, adding strength to Horizon’s overall revenue, and three years later, despite dozens of lawsuits and patients continuing to report hearing problems, sales continue.
While patients using Tepezza may have success in treating TED, Horizon is accused of not adequately warning patients or doctors about the potential for severe hearing loss while using the drug. Tepezza lawsuits are claiming defective design and failure to warn. The drug’s warning label didn’t include that it could cause permanent tinnitus and hearing loss, leaving patients and doctors unaware of the potential risks.
Perhaps the most notable spike in Tepezza lawsuits came in February of 2022, due to an article in The American Journal of Ophthalmology. The publication released a study reporting that the majority of patients its researchers observed acquired hearing issues soon after beginning the Tepezza infusions.
According to the report, 27 patients were observed, with 22 of them or 81.5 percent, developing “new subjective otologic symptoms after a means of 3.8 infusions.’’
Legal Options For Those Injured After Using Tepezza
Although a recall has not been issued for Tepezza, there is already substantial proof that the manufacturer failed to accurately warn the public of the drug’s risks. When an individual suffers permanent hearing loss or tinnitus as an unknown side effect to a drug, there can physical, emotional, and financial consequences that can have both immediate and long-ranging effects.
Patients suffering from severe Tepezza side effects need to recognize the importance of bringing in an experienced personal injury attorney for support. Hiring a lawyer experienced in dangerous drug lawsuits could make a major difference for the individual’s health now and in the future.
Tepezza users with hearing loss symptoms should consider contacting a Tepezza attorney. During a case consultation, an attorney can help determine if legal action would be appropriate for your injuries. A lawyer handling Tepezza lawsuits will have the experience to determine the proper compensation for your injuries, including the cost of medical care, auditory aids and equipment, and even lost wages.
Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to give patients correct and complete information about risk factors of a drug, and if they do not, they need to be held accountable. The listing of risk factors on medications is crucial so that doctors, pharmacists, and consumers can prescribe, distribute and use medications correctly and safely.