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Tepezza is a new prescription infusion medication that gives those suffering from thyroid eye disease hope for a better treatment option. Approved by the FDA on January 21, 2020, Tepezza (brand name for the drug teprotumumab) is the first of its kind to treat thyroid eye disease. But since its approval, Tepezza lawsuits have been filed by patients who used the medication and reported life-altering side effects – hearing loss and tinnitus.

What is Thyroid Eye Disease?

Thyroid eye disease (TED) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that can threaten a person’s vision. TED is often associated with an overactive thyroid (Graves’ disease). With thyroid eye disease, a person’s immune system attacks the tissue behind their eyes. As a result, their eye muscles and fatty tissue behind the eye become inflamed. The inflammation can push the eyes forward and bulge outwards. Symptoms can include dry, red or watery eyes, difficulty closing the eye, eye pain, double vision and light sensitivity. TED impacts a relatively small number of Americans. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of patients with thyroid eye diseases are women. 

Up until the introrduction of Tepezza, there were only treatments available to help manage thyroid eye disease symptoms. Tepezza is the first FDA-approved drug for the treatment of the disease.

In the FDA’s 2020 news release about Tepezza, Wiley Chambers, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Transplant and Ophthalmology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said, “Today’s approval marks an important milestone for the treatment of thyroid eye disease. Currently, there are very limited treatment options for this potentially debilitating disease. This treatment has the potential to alter the course of the disease, potentially sparing patients from needing multiple invasive surgeries by providing an alternative, non surgical treatment option.” 

Tepezza was approved based on two studies of patients with active thyroid eye disease. The results were a reduction in eye protrusion of more than 2 millimeters in 71 percent of the first study’s participants and 83 percent of the second study’s participants. But this new infustion treatment may come at the cost of a person’s hearing. 

What Are The Adverse Effects of Tepezza?

For those with thyroid eye disease, the possibility of non-surgical treatment for this life-altering condition was promising. When using Tepezza, some patients experienced side effects, such as changes in how food tastes, dry skin, weakness, tiredness, nausea and muscle spasms. Temporary hair loss has also been reported, but hair growth returned when the infusions concluded or were stopped.

However, some studies have shown more serious side effects to Tepezza. It’s been reported that 10 to 46  percent of TED patients have experienced subjective hearing symptoms including hypoacusis (partial loss of hearing), autophony (perception that your voice is too loud or echoing in your ears), and tinnitus (ringing or other noises in one or both ears). Another study found those experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus could be as high as 65 percent. 

On average, patients who have had more than three infusions of Tepezza found themselves experiencing hearing loss symptoms. Experts have recommended that medical professionals conduct a baseline audiogram with PET testing before prescribing Tepezza.

Why Tepezza Lawsuits Are Being Filed 

Childers, Schlueter & Smith filed the first Tepezza lawsuit in Georgia against the manufacturer Horizon Therapeutics, and cases continue to be filed. Tepezza lawsuits allege that plaintiffs experienced various hearing issues including tinnitus and permanent hearing loss after taking Tepezza to treat thyroid eye disease. Earlier this year, a motion was filed to form a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for Tepezza lawsuits. The panel on MDL heard arguments in May, and ordered that Tepezza lawsuits be consolidated and transferred to the Northern District of Illinois under the Honorable Thomas M. Durkin. 

Drug manufacturers must create and manufacture medications and treatments that are safe for people. Patients should not encounter unexpected injuries or illnesses when using the medication according to the manufacturer and medical professionals’ advice. Taking medicine to treat one disease should not cause debilitating side effects. 

Anyone who has experienced hearing loss or other chronic auditory conditions after utilizing Tepezza to treat thyroid eye disease should contact a Tepezza lawyer to explore possible legal options. Filing a dangerous drug lawsuit can help you to be compensated for your injuries and hold drug manufacturers accountable. For more information or a free Tepezza case consultation, call Childers, Schlueter & Smith at 1-800-641-0098, contact us online or use our online chat.

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