A federal lawsuit seeking damages in the amount of $750,000 has been filed in Georgia on behalf of a now 9-year-old girl who allegedly suffered injuries as a result of a Georgia pharmacy’s labeling mistake regarding the dosage of the child’s medication, leading to the child being given a dose that was five times higher than was prescribed by her doctor.
The child had suffered from seizures since shortly after her birth. When she was 4 years old, her doctor prescribed the anti-seizure medication Keppra, which was called in to the pharmacy by the doctor’s nurse. The proper dosage was two milliliters twice a day but the pharmacy labeled the bottle with instructions to take two teaspoons of the medication, twice per day. The pharmacist who filled the prescription claimed that the prescription was filled pursuant to the nurse’s instructions (the pharmacist claims that she read back the prescription dosing to the nurse, who verified the dosage).
The girl’s mother gave her young daughter the medication following the instructions on the bottle’s label. The child immediately reacted by having a severe seizure and she subsequently became catatonic, which required her to be hospitalized. The pharmacy negligence lawsuit alleges that when the child awoke, she was unable to walk and she was dazed. The 4-year-old child had to be fed baby food, which caused her body weight to drop to about 17 pounds. She spent 4 days in the hospital.
The pharmacy malpractice lawsuit alleges that the girl still suffers the consequences from the pharmacy error.
Keppra (a brand name of levetiracetam) is a prescription medicine manufactured by UCB Pharma that is taken by mouth and is used with other medicines to treat partial onset seizures in people 1 month of age and older with epilepsy; myoclonic seizures in people 12 years of age and older with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy; and, primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures in people 6 years of age and older with certain types of generalized epilepsy.
Epilepsy is caused by excessive electrical activity in the brain. About 2.3 million people in the United States suffer recurring seizures. Even with treatment, only about 50% of epilepsy patients have complete control of their seizures, and 600,000 patients do not respond at all to available therapies.
Results of clinical trials found that Keppra significantly reduced the weekly seizure frequency over a placebo. The reduction in seizures ranged from 17.1% to 30.1% (depending on the trial and on the dose of Keppra). In general, higher doses resulted in greater reduction in the number of seizures, although the results varied in the trials.
We would be interested in knowing if the pharmacist who filled the little girl’s Keppra prescription had filled Keppra prescriptions for other young children in the past. If so, we would want to know what the pharmacist understood from her past experiences, her knowledge, and the information available to her regarding the proper dosage of Keppra for 4-year-old children.
If the pharmacist who spoke with the nurse who provided the dosing information/instructions had any doubts or concerns whatsoever regarding what was being prescribed, the pharmacist should have insisted on speaking with the prescribing physician for verification, and if she continued to have doubts about the proper dosage, she should have engaged in further research and inquiry before providing a questionable prescription to a patient.
If you or a family member may be the victim of a pharmacy error, a pharmacy mistake, pharmacy negligence, or pharmacy malpractice in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate whether you have an actionable pharmacy claim and represent you in a lawsuit against a pharmacy, if appropriate.
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