Family Says Acne Medication Caused Suicide
(CN) - A prescription acne medication gave a 17-year-old boy such deep depression he killed himself, his parents claim in court.
Howard and Theresa Hilscher sued Allergan and Amerisource Bergen on behalf of their late son, Jordan.
Jordan took his own live on Nov. 2, 2011. His parents claim the prescription drug Aczone - a topical medication for mild to moderate acne - triggered severe changes their sons and led to his suicide.
"These adverse psychiatric drug reactions from Aczone or dapsone caused him to develop suicidal thoughts, depression and abnormal mood disorders that drove him to shoot himself with a handgun at the age of 17," his parents say in the 60-page lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court.
"(A)fter using Aczone for a few months, on 9/04/2011, Jordan had an abrupt 'epiphany' about deciding to commit suicide, which he described occurring a week or so earlier at the first football game of the year. According to the football schedule, that game was played on 08/26/11 - after two months exposure to the drug and in the middle of treatment with Aczone," the lawsuit states.
"The dramatic downhill change occurred during treatment and would have been reinforced by continued treatment and could have lasted ten days or more after termination of the drug. On October 20, 2011, Jordan Hilscher was instructed to stop Aczone, and within 10 days, Jordan Hilscher used a handgun to commit suicide that took his life."
Jordan's parents say Allergan and Amerisource Bergen made misleading statements to the FDA about the drug's efficacy, and downplayed the psychiatric risks of the drug.
The FDA approved Aczone in 2005 and Allergan acquired rights to it in 2008, according to the complaint. The complaint adds: "there were several serious psychiatric adverse drug events (ADEs) that occurred in the randomized controlled trials, including a suicide attempt, and ... there were at least 3 or more serious psychiatric events occurring in young patients in controlled trials that had occurred within one year. ...
"Despite the existence of scientific literature that had reported on the risks of serious psychiatric reactions known to have been caused by oral dapsone, and the occurrence of such events in the Aczone clinical trials, it appears that there was no scientific literature regarding the reports of suicides and psychosis, and other serious psychiatric ADES that were submitted to the FDA by defendants for the consideration by the FDA, or to the U.S. healthcare providers or patients being prescribed Aczone."
Jordan's parents seek compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, breach of warranty, misleading labeling, and improper marketing.
They are represented by Wayne Kreger of Santa Monica.