Jamie Bixby filed suit against Abbott Laboratories for adverse effects suffered from taking Abbott's most popular drug Humira. Bixby is claiming that Humira, which she took for Crohn's disease, permanently damaged her optic nerves. After taking Humira for a month, Bixby began experiencing eye pain and an optometrist diagnosed her with permanent damage to the myelin sheath of her optic nerves.
Humira and its biggest competitors, Enbrel and Remicade, are used to relieve the symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. They work by blocking the action of TNF, a substance in the body that causes inflammation.
Studies have shown that some individuals taking TNF blockers experience demyelination, which is damage to the protective sheaths that coat nerve fibers. Patients experience symptoms including a change in thinking, eyesight, balance, and strength.
Bixby complains that Abbott should have known Humira could damage the coatings of optic nerves before it began marketing the drug to Crohn's patients in 2007. Enbrel and Remicade both include specific warnings about the risk of optic nerve damage, while Humira does not. However, Remicade and Enbrel are currently facing similar lawsuits, and all three drugs have lawsuits pending regarding an increased risk of cancer after use of TNF blockers.