DEFECTIVE MEDICAL DEVICES & PHARMACEUTICAL INJURIES

Tasigna Lawsuit

Despite the mounting lawsuits against the drug Tasigna, it continues to be a major money maker for pharmaceutical company Novartis. To be exact, Tasigna brought in $1.8 million in 2018 alone. As of September 2021, Americans have reported 14,257 serious side effects and 4,047 deaths according to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS). If you or a loved one is included in these unfortunate statistics, personal injury attorneys at Reich & Binstock want to help you file a Tasigna lawsuit so that you may receive justice. Call us today at 713-622-7271 for a free consultation.

What is Tasigna?

Novartis created a chemotherapy drug called Tasigna in 2002. The FDA later approved it in 2007. Tasigna is most commonly used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in its more advanced stages. The drug has proven to be more effective than other chemotherapy drugs, but it has more side effects, some of which are more deadly.

What is CML?

CML is basically a rare form of blood cell cancer that starts in the bone marrow. Early myeloid cells — which become white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelet-making cells — are where myeloid leukemias begin. This type of cancer is generally slow growing and most often occurs in adults. Additionally, chronic leukemias are usually more difficult to treat and cure than acute leukemias.

CML Symptoms

Many CML patients don’t know that they have this type of cancer until it reaches later stages. The only way to diagnose CML is through routine blood work. Whenever patients do start feeling bad due to CML, they generally have these symptoms:
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Night Sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Joint or bone pain
  • An enlarged spleen that feels like a bump under the left side of the ribs
  • Fullness or pain in the abdominal area
  • Feeling full after eating small meals
Another reason why CML diagnosis can take a long time is because these symptoms are generally vague and can be related to another health condition or even another type of cancer. But these symptoms occur with CML because of a shortage of blood cells.

What are the Other Types of Leukemia?

There are four types of leukemia, including:
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

How Does Tasigna Treat CML?

The active ingredient in this drug, nilotinib, inhibits the growth of cancer-causing proteins known as tyrosine kinases. It’s a type of medicine known as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, or TKI. More specifically, nilotinib works by stopping signals from atypical blood proteins that cause leukemia cancer cells to form. Stopping cancer from spreading and allowing more healthy blood cells to develop may be possible by blocking cancer cell signals. Basically, the main goals of Tasigna include:
  • Achieving normal blood cell counts.
  • Reducing and eliminating the Philadelphia chromosome, which is an abnormal chromosome that forms when chromosome 9 and 22 break and swap. This can lead to CML.
  • Reducing and eliminating the BCR-ABL1 gene expression. Doctors find the gene sequence BCR-ABL1 on chromosome 22 where a fragment of chromosome 9 attaches.
Doctors define a significant molecular response, or MMR, as a BCR-ABL1 level of less than 0.1 percent. If a CML patient who has taken Tasigna for at least three years achieves an MMR, their doctor may allow them to stop taking Tasigna.

Mild Tasigna Side Effects

The fairly mild side effects that happened to about 20% or more of patients involved in clinical studies include:
  • Headache
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy skin or rash
  • Joint or bone pain
  • Common cold symptoms like cough and runny nose
  • Night sweats
The fairly mild side effects that happened to about 20% or less of patients involved in clinical studies include:
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • General stomach discomfort and indigestion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms and pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in the hands, feet, and ankles
  • Mouth and throat pain

Serious Tasigna Side Effects

Serious side effects related to Tasigna are more rare than the previously listed side effects, but they do still happen and can be life-threatening.

Blood Disorders

Anemia and neutropenia are common blood disorders that Tasigna can cause. Symptoms can include:
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent and easy bruising
  • Frequent infections from a weak immune system

Heart or Blood Vessel Blockages

Symptoms of any kind of blockage can include:
  • Leg pain
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Change in leg skin color
  • Difficulty walking
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Pancreatitis

This condition is basically an inflammation in the pancreas. Common symptoms include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • General stomach pain
  • Fever

Electrolyte Imbalances

This condition can lead to issues with the heart and muscles. Symptoms of a severe electrolyte imbalance due to Tasigna can include:
  • Weakness
  • Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion

Tumor Lysis Syndrome

This syndrome is generally caused by cancer cells dying and releasing toxic substances into the bloodstream. Patients with this syndrome may show these symptoms:
  • Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures

Severe Bleeding

If patients who are taking Tasigna experience severe bleeding that’s difficult to control, they will likely have these symptoms as well:
  • Severe headache
  • Vision changes
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Edema

Edema is basically fluid retention around the body, even around the heart and lungs. Patients may experience:
  • Rapid and unexplained weight gain
  • General swelling in the limbs and stomach
  • Shortness of breath

Injuries Included in Tasigna Lawsuit

The main complaint in the Tasigna lawsuit is that the pharmaceutical company, Novartis, failed to warn patients about potentially deadly side effects. Once thousands of people were suffering due to the drug, Novartis allegedly issued a warning in Canada in 2013 but not in the United States.

Atherosclerosis

The side effect that’s included in the most Tasigna lawsuits is atherosclerosis. This condition is often seen in lifelong smokers or those who have never eaten a healthy, balanced diet. For smokers and those who eat poorly, the condition is slow and can often be treated if caught in time. But people who have taken Tasigna often experience accelerated and irreversible atherosclerosis, which is basically when arteries rapidly narrow and become hardened. Many people who have taken Tasigna end up suffering from strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, and peripheral artery disease (PAD) due to the rapid onset of atherosclerosis.
 
Many lawsuits claim that Novartis knew in 2010 (but possibly earlier) that Tasigna could cause accelerated atherosclerosis but failed to warn the public until 2013. Even when Novartis finally issued a warning, they did so only in Canada. Many victims and attorneys believe that Novartis did this in order to protect its financial interests. After all, Tasigna is a big money maker for Novartis.

Long QT Syndrome

Another serious condition that’s also mentioned in the Tasigna lawsuit is Long QT Syndrome. This condition is basically a very dangerous heart rhythm disorder that can cause fast, irregular heart beats. Long QT Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as some kind of seizure disorder because it can cause sudden fainting spells and seizures. If gone untreated, people can even die from Long QT Syndrome. The FDA has issued a black box warning for Tasigna because of this condition.

Other Injuries Included in Tasigna Lawsuit

Other life-threatening side effects and injuries included in the Tasigna lawsuit include:
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Peripheral artery disease, which is the narrowing of the arteries in the limbs, stomach, and head
  • Myocardial ischemia, which is the narrowing of the arteries that send blood to the heart
  • Carotid artery stenosis, which is when the arteries in the neck narrow
  • Blood vessel blockages

Accusations Against Novartis

As stated previously, the main accusation against Novartis is that they failed to warn patients of the life-threatening side effects. Other accusations listed in many Tasigna lawsuits include:
  • Aggressive and illegal marketing of the Tasigna drug
  • Fraud
  • Negligence, specifically breaching duty of care by failing to warn people about Tasigna’s risks
  • Conscious disrespect or indifference to the lives, safety, or rights of Tasigna victims
  • Reckless conduct

How Many Tasigna Lawsuits are Pending in Multidistrict Litigation?

As of 2021, there are 18 Tasigna lawsuits pending in multidistrict litigation (MDL). However, victims and loved ones of victims have filed approximately 150 Tasigna lawsuits nationwide. Personal injury attorneys expect victims to file hundreds or thousands more lawsuits.

Tasigna Lawsuit Settlement Value

Because the Tasigna product liability litigation is still ongoing, it’s impossible to say what the exact settlement value will be. We can only estimate the settlement value based on similar lawsuits filed in the past. Additionally, settlement values will depend on specific case details and the severity of injuries or death suffered due to Tasigna.

Level One

Injury level one due to Tasigna describes atherosclerosis that didn’t result in permanent injury or death. The estimated value for this injury level is $40,000 to $60,000.

Level Two

Injury level two due to Tasigna describes peripheral artery disease, vascular damage, or a heart attack that wasn’t fatal. The estimated value for this injury level is $80,000 to $150,000.

Level Three

Injury level three due to Tasigna describes wrongful death, stroke, or any other condition that resulted in permanent injury. The estimated value for this injury level is $175,000 to $250,000.

Call Personal Injury Attorneys at Reich & Binstock Today

Suffering from CML is already scary by itself. What’s even worse is being prescribed a medication that’s supposed to help, but instead makes your overall health even worse. If you or a loved one is a victim of the chemotherapy drug Tasigna, experienced personal injury attorneys at Reich & Binstock want to fight for you. Call us today at 713-622-7271 for a free consultation.