Campath, whose generic name is alemtuzumab, is a drug manufactured from animal DNA applied as an antibody to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and multiple sclerosis. In the treatment of CLL, it has been recommended as both the first and second-line treatments. But in MS, it is usually prescribed after all other medications have been used with minimal success. The drug is administered through an injection into a vein and works by slowing cancerous cells’ growth. In the United States, Campath was accepted for medical use in 2001. However, in 2012, it was withdrawn from the market to prepare the entry of Lemtrada, a more practical but costly drug for the treatment of MS.
For detailed information regarding the dangers patients can suffer from the use of Campath, contact us at Consumer Alert Now.
Its Medical Uses
Doctors use Campath today to treat CLL in people who have previously used alkylating agents and those who have not been successful with fludarabine therapy. As an unconjugated antibody, it is believed to activate cell-mediated cytotoxicity that is dependent on antibodies.
On the other hand, in the treatment of MS, Campath is believed to help in relapse the remitting form of MS. However, it is only recommended for people who have tried at least two other types of medications with no sufficient response.
How It Is Used
The medication is administered via an injection into the vein. A healthcare professional can administer it as an IV infusion for two hours. Note that it cannot be administered as an intravenous bolus or push. The dosage a doctor can give to a patient will be based on their medical situation and how well they are responding to treatment.
The healthcare professional can slowly increase the dosage to minimize the risks of severe side effects. The maximum recommended increment of the dose is 30mg. Doctors can increase the amount of medication to take at the start of the treatment or after the patient has been on treatment for more than seven days. The 30mg escalation can be achieved in between 3-7 days.
Before a doctor administers Campath, he/she is required to direct patients to other medications to prevent the risk of their side effects. Other medications could be, for example, corticosteroids, acetaminophen, and diphenhydramine. Doctors must also recommend other medicines like antivirals and antibiotics to help stop infections in their patient’s bodies. On the other hand, patients are required to use the medications precisely as suggested by their doctors.
A myriad of side effects is associated with the use of Campath. We shall discuss the most common ones here.
Side Effects During and After Infusion
Immediately after the infusion, and a few minutes, hours, or days after the treatment, the patient may experience the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Mild rash or itching
There is no particular time or order in which patients could experience these side effects. Patients may experience one or more of the above-listed results. The reactions will be felt more within the first week after the infusion. It is advisable to let your pharmacist or doctor know of any responses right away. He/she may prescribe other medicines to help stop or minimize the symptoms.
Other reactions that could occur are:
- Abdominal pains
- Mouth sores
- Trouble sleeping
If any symptoms worsen or last for a while, ensure that your pharmacist or doctor is aware of it.
Severe Side Effects
Note that some people suffer severe side effects after the use of Campath. However, it is worth noting that doctors will recommend this drug as a last resort, knowing that its benefits in your health will be more significant than the reactions. Sometimes, close monitoring by a doctor during the treatment period minimizes the danger of suffering adverse side effects.
To safely use the drug, report any severe side effects to your doctor or pharmacist immediately you experience them. They could be:
- Mood/mental changes, like anxiety and depression
- Bone/muscle pain
- Tingling/numbness of the arms and/or legs
- Slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat
- Uncommon changes in your weight
- Indications of problems in the kidney, for instance, pain when urinating, changes in the quantity of urine, bloody or pink urine, swelling feet, or ankles.
- For example, liver disease signs are vomiting or nausea that does not go away, severe abdominal or stomach pains, loss of appetite, yellowing skin, or eyes.
Risk of PML
Campath also increases the patient’s risk of suffering from a very rare but serious, sometimes fatal, infection to the brain called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or PML. It is advisable to seek immediate medical help if you experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of balance or coordination
- The abrupt change in thinking, like memory loss, confusion, and difficulties concentrating on anything
- Body weakness
- Difficulties walking or talking
- Changes in your vision
Seek immediate medical help if you experience severe side effects such as:
- Neck pain
- Pain in the jaw, chest, or left arm
- Weakness on one or both sides of the body
- Sudden severe pain in the head
There is no report regarding a severe allergic response to Campath. However, it is good to be on the lookout, and immediately report to your doctor or pharmacist if you experience severe allergic reactions such as a rash, swelling, or itching, particularly on the throat, face, or tongue, trouble breathing, or severe dizziness.
Note that this isn’t a comprehensive list of all side effects that patients can experience after Campath’s use. It is good to be alert and immediately report if you see other possible side effects after the infusion.
Medication Precautions to Take
People react to different medications differently, and Campath is no exception. Some patients will experience minor side effects, while others will suffer severe reactions. It is good to take precautions to minimize the risk of experiencing adverse side effects. Some of the medication precautions patients can take include:
- Let your doctor know if you have allergies or whether you are affected by this particular drug. The drug might have inactive ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction to you or other medical problems. It is good to talk about any concerns you might have before the drug is administered.
- Let your doctor know details about your medical account and any special treatments you have received in the past. Let him/her know if you have any problems affecting your immune systems, like HIV/AIDs. Also, about any current or recent infections like TB, any blood or bleeding problems, whether or not you have a stroke, high blood pressure, other types of cancer, kidney problems, issues affecting blood vessels, heart and thyroid issues.
- Avoid marijuana or alcohol. One side effect you can experience after taking Campath is dizziness. Taking alcohol or marijuana after the drug might make you dizzier. Avoid driving, use of machinery, and doing anything else that requires you to be alert until you feel safe and healthy enough to do it. You may need to limit your intake of alcoholic beverages during the medication period. If you take marijuana, let your healthcare provider or pharmacist know beforehand.
- Let your doctor know about the drug and all other drugs and products you are using before having an operation. It includes all prescription and nonprescription medicines, plus herbal products. Also, let him/her know about this if you are about to undergo a blood transfusion. Doctors can tell how this drug and others will affect any medical procedure you are undergoing from their experience. Thus, severe reactions can be avoided in time.
After using this medicine, avoid getting vaccinations or immunizations without your doctor’s consent. You may also need to stay away from individuals who have had a recent vaccination, for instance, a flu vaccine that you could inhale through the nostrils.
Keep your hands properly cleaned to minimize the transmission of infections. It should keep people close to you safe throughout your medication period.
Campath increases a person’s risk of suffering a severe bacterial infection caused by listeria. Thus, the patient should avoid foods that might contain that bacterial during the treatment and sometimes after the treatment. These foods could be cheese products, unpasteurized milk, deli meat, undercooked poultry, meat, and seafood. If you have to eat these foods, ensure that you cook them properly. You could also talk to your doctor about the same.
Avoid getting bruised, cut, or injured. It could be achieved by using sharp objects such as nail cutters and razors with a lot of caution. You may also need to avoid certain activities like contact sports to reduce your chances of suffering an injury.
Before medication, let the doctor or pharmacist know if you are expecting or planning to get pregnant. Ensure that you do not get pregnant in the course of treatment with Campath. It is because this is a drug that could harm a fetus. Doctors administering Campath are required to conduct a pregnancy exam on a patient before the medication’s onset. Patients should use reliable birth control methods during the medication period, and at least three months after the treatment period.
If the patient gets pregnant in the course of treatment, they should report to their doctor immediately. The doctor should discuss with them the benefits versus risks of this drug.
There is not much information regarding the possible effects Campath might have on breastfeeding babies. It is not known whether or not the drug could pass into the breast milk. Thus, there is no need to take chances and bring harm to your baby. It is advisable to avoid using this treatment if you are breastfeeding. Mothers should also not breastfeed for at least three months after the treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you are lactating or planning to breastfeed your baby after treatment for further instructions.
Campath Interactions with Other Drugs
The way one drug interacts with another may affect how effective it is in treatment. It could also increase the risks of suffering from severe side effects. That is why patients should be aware and inform their doctors about any drug and other products they are using before the onset of treatment using Campath. It includes all the vitamins, herbs, minerals, and also over-the-counter medicines you may be using at that instance.
Once the treatment starts, patients should be advised against changing the dosage or stopping the use of certain medicines without getting your doctor’s approval. Also, don’t start using another drug or product after the onset of treatment with Campath.
Note that some drugs and other products that might interact with Campath increase the risks of getting an infection and those that weaken a person’s immune system. They are such drugs as rituximab and natalizumab.
Legal Help for Those Affected by Campath
Drug companies spend a lot of money on bringing new products to the market. Sadly, some of these drugs do not work as well as they are believed. Some medications like Campath are very effective in treatment. But they have a wide range of possible side effects, which makes them more dangerous than/as they are effective. For this reason, a lot of people have suffered grave injuries after treatment. If you are one of these people, or your loved one is, understand that you can find legal help in recovering your losses.
Even though drug companies mean well when they manufacture and introduce a new product in the market, some are after the profits they are bound to make through the sales. They do not care much, even if they put the lives of others at risk. For that reason, several people have been injured in the course of seeking treatment. Drug manufacturers do not disclose adequate information regarding the dangers associated with certain medications. Therefore, more people can suffer injuries after the use of drugs. This is where Mass Torts lawsuits come on.
On Nov. 29, 2018, FDA issued out a safety warning regarding the use of Campath. The warning stated that there was a serious, though a rare case of stroke and tears in the lining of arteries observed in the head and neck of patients who have Multiple Sclerosis after the administration of Campath. For that reason, the agency was requiring all medicines containing this drug to be labeled with a black box warning. Manufacturers of this drug were also required to provide detailed information on the drug prescription about the possible risks patients may fall into after using the medication.
Following the injuries and death many have suffered after Campath’s use, individuals and families have filed lawsuits against its manufacturers. The law states that drug manufacturers owe a duty of care to consumers of their products. Therefore, they should test drugs, following the appropriate criteria provided by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA standards are considered industry standards. In addition to that, drug manufacturers are required by law to provide detailed information regarding the usefulness and risks the drug poses to consumers. It means that a drug manufacturer can still face a lawsuit if a patient or patients are injured by a drug, even if the FDA has licensed the company.
By selling a drug that can harm consumers, Campath manufacturers breached their legal duty of care and protection of the patients who depend on the medication. The company may have been aware of the dangerous side effects patients could have suffered if they consumed this medication. If so, they negligently marketed and supplied it to the market without disclosing full information about its potential side effects to would-be consumers. For these reasons, patients who have suffered injuries after using this medication have the right to seek legal help in seeking compensation for their damages.
When a particular medicine has affected numerous consumers’ lives, filing a mass tort lawsuit as a civil action against the drug manufacturer is appropriate. Mass torts allow several plaintiffs to file a single claim against one at-fault party for compensation against damages incurred. Therefore, if you or your loved one has suffered severe side effects after medicating with Campath, you can join a mass tort to pursue the compensation you deserve.
How to Join a Mass Tort
Unlike personal injury lawsuits, plaintiffs do not need to do much to join a mass tort. The law only requires enough individuals to come up with proof of damage after using the drug. These individuals will come together, and with the help of their legal professionals, will create a mass tort case and file it in a civil court for monetary compensation.
Since already there is a mass tort lawsuit against Campath manufacturers, joining it will be easy. You only need legal help to add your issue to the case, complete with proof of the damage and the damages for which you require compensation. You may also need proper legal guidance to ensure that your claim is one of those that will receive compensation.
Note that you can hire a lawyer or contact one that is already attached to the case as an individual. You will then be required to wait until one of the professionals is ready to interview you. During the interview, you will discuss the injuries you or your loved one suffered through the drug’s use and the kind of compensation you seek. Remember that those injuries and your case’s circumstances must be in direct connection or related to the mass tort lawsuit you wish to join. If not, you will be expected to file a separate lawsuit against the drug manufacturers in a civil court.
Drug-related mass tort lawsuits mainly use medical experts, other professionals, witnesses, and evidence from individual plaintiffs to strengthen their case against the alleged negligent party. Evidence could be in the form of physical harm suffered by the plaintiffs or medical reports from reliable healthcare providers. Lawyers involved have to investigate the matter in detail, collecting irrefutable evidence, and consult widely before filing the lawsuit. It increases the case’s chances of success.
How is Compensation Handled?
Mass tort lawsuits involve many plaintiffs, each with their degree of sustained damages. Thus, it could be confusing how the court will handle compensation matters if the plaintiffs win the case. Unlike in a class action where compensation is distributed equally among all plaintiffs involved, plaintiffs are treated individually in a mass tort. It puts into consideration that every person was affected differently and so suffered different injuries. Thus, individuals receive compensation based on the degree of damages incurred.
Again, mass tort lawsuits can drag on for years. It is because every plaintiff in the case is subjected to a separate trial. Even though attorneys representing the plaintiffs could use some evidence collectively, there will be no point in time that one plaintiff will be used to represent all the others’ interests.
The types of damages awarded and the total amount of compensation received will vary from one plaintiff to another. It allows every plaintiff to pursue compensation based on their level of losses incurred. Note that your case could be unique from other plaintiff’s cases. Therefore, that should not be a reason for you to lose hope.
Even though compensation must not be the same for all claimants, their attorneys can come together and share information from their investigations. They can also support each other in collecting evidence to ensure that every mass tort case is strong enough. For instance, they can use the same expert witness’s services, instead of every plaintiff finding an expert witness independently. Doing this could improve their chances of winning the case.
Find Help Filing a Campath Lawsuit near Me
If you or your loved one has suffered severe side effects after using Campath medication, you may be able to join a mass tort near you. If you need more information to understand how mass tort lawsuits work, you can get in touch with us at Consumer Alert Now. We can also help you understand how plaintiffs file lawsuits like these and probably connect you to the best legal firm to help you file one. Call us at 800-511-0747 from anywhere in the country today and let us establish whether you have grounds for pursuing compensation.