What is Children's Motrin?
Children's Motrin is an oral suspension medicine for kids. It contains ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that works by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) that the body uses to make prostaglandins. By reducing the production of prostaglandins, Children's Motrin helps relieve the discomfort of fever and reduces inflammation and the associated pain.
What's the Problem?
It has been known for decades that the ibuprofen in Children's Motrin can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), a far more deadly form of the disease. These extremely rare conditions can cause the top layer of skin to detach, resulting in massive skin loss. SJS and TEN especially affect mucous membranes such as the mouth, eyes, and female genitalia.
Symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
- Flu-like symptoms
- High temperature
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
- The rash usually starts on the upper body before quickly spreading to the face, arms, legs, and other areas of the body, such as the genitals.
Jury Awards $63 Million to Girl Who Got SJS from Children's Motrin
In April 2015, a Massachusetts jury awarded $63 million to Samantha Reckis, a girl who developed a severe case of Stevens-Johnson syndrome after being given Children's Motrin, according to CBS News [1.].
In 2003, when Samantha was 6 years old, her father gave her 2 doses of Children’s Motrin for fever and congestion at the recommended intervals. The next morning she woke up with a sore throat. Assuming she had the flu or strep, he administered her 2 more doses of Motrin before taking her to a pediatrician.
Samantha then began developing rash, crusty eyes, and cracked lips. The pediatrician incorrectly diagnosed the condition as Measles and told the family to give her Children’s Motrin 3 times per day.
A day later Samantha's lips began to ooze blood and the rash had spread and evolved into blisters all over her body. After being rushed to the hospital, it was only then that she was correctly diagnosed with SJS.
Samantha ultimately lost 90% of her skin, was blinded, and suffered permanent brain damage.
The trial ended after the jury awarded $50 million in compensatory damages to Samantha and $6.5 million to each of her parents from McNeil PPC and Johnson and Johnson, the manufacturers of Children’s Motrin.
Jury Awards Girl $10 Million in Motrin Lawsuit for Burns, Blindness
In May 2011, a Philadelphia jury awarded $10 million to the family of a 12-year-old girl who developed Stevens-Johnson syndrome after taking Children’s Motrin, according to ABC News [2.].
Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Health Care division was held liable for injuries suffered by Brianna Maya, who was left blind in 1 eye and suffered burns over 84% of her body after being given Children’s Motrin in 2000. According to allegations raised in the complaint, McNeil failed to adequately warn doctors and consumers about the risk of SJS.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury ultimately determined that the drugmaker was negligent in failing to properly warn about the risk of SJS on the Children’s Motrin labeling.
Motrin SJS Lawsuit Punitive Damage Claim Allowed
In February 2011, a California appeals court cleared the way for a punitive damages claim against J&J to move forward in a Motrin lawsuit alleging that the company failed to warn about the risks of SJS and TEN. The claim was filed in 2008 on behalf of Christopher Trejo, who developed SJS in 2005 when he was 15 years old.
Trejo sought damages due to the company’s actions, but J&J claimed that it could not be subject to punitive damages since the Motrin labeling had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the appeals court highlighted the 2009 ruling in Wyeth v. Levine, which determined that the FDA’s labeling requirements are the minimum that companies must meet, and found that the companies are still responsible for warning of health risks beyond the agency's minimum requirements to do so.
The complaint alleges that J&J misrepresented study results to the FDA and did not tell the agency the entire truth about the risk of SJS from Motrin when it asked to be able to sell the product over the counter (OTC).
Is There an SJS Warning on the Children's Motrin Label?
Though the labeling of Children’s Motrin does vaguely mention potential skin problems associated with the use of the product, the label does not specifically warn of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, nor does it mention that SJS symptoms can be misinterpreted as flu-like symptoms, the reason Children’s Motrin is typically administered in the first place.
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Get a Free Children's Motrin Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Children's Motrin Stevens-Johnson Syndrome lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Again, if your child or other loved one was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) after taking Children's Motrin, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case review. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit for legal fees and our defective drug lawyers can help with a free case evaluation.