ENQUIRER  |  POST  |  WCPO  |  CIN WEEKLY  |  Classifieds  |  Cars  |  Homes  |  Jobs  |  Customer Service
Weather | Traffic
The Enquirer
 Front Page 
-- Local News 
 Back Issues 

 High School 

 Jim Borgman 
 Readers' views 

 Lottery Results 
 Local Events 
 Video Games 

 Send an E-Postcard 
 Visitor's Guide 

 Place an ad 

 Newsroom Directory 

Thursday, December 28, 2000

Norwood girl feels health compromised

Suit alleges antidepressant led to liver failure, transplant

By David Willman
Los Angeles Times

        NORWOOD — When a hospital psychiatrist prescribed an antidepressant called Serzone for their 15-year-old daughter, Jimmie and Brenda Robinson assumed it was safe.

        The episode in February 1997 haunts them — Alissa Robinson nearly died after taking Serzone. After suffering liver failure and undergoing a transplant, she now faces a lifetime of uncertain health and worry over how she will pay for her care.

        Serzone, it turns out, was not intended for children or adolescents, and the label said its safety and effectiveness “have not been established” among the young. However, when FDA officials approved Serzone in December 1994, they suspected its use would not be confined to adults.

        “Since it is likely that (Serzone), once marketed, will be used in children and adolescents ... we ask that you commit to conducting, subsequent to approval, studies in these populations in order to provide the safety and efficacy data needed to support such use,” wrote an FDA administrator, Dr. Robert J. Temple, in a Nov. 7, 1994, letter to Serzone's manufacturer, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

        The company agreed to conduct the research, among patients age 7 to 17, and to report the results to the FDA. But nearly six years later, no results have been made public. Doctors may continue to lawfully prescribe it.

        A spokeswoman for Bristol-Myers said it hopes to report results to the FDA “in the early part of 2002.”

        In an interview at the family's home, Brenda Robinson said she was unaware that the FDA had not endorsed Serzone's use in adolescents.

        “That comes as a big surprise,” Brenda Robinson said. “If it's an adult medicine, why did (the doctors) give it to her? ... These drugs should be tested for the people they're going to be used in.”

        When specialists at Children's Hospital Medical Center admitted Alissa on June 12, 1997, they found she was suffering liver failure. Alissa was placed on a waiting list for a transplant.

        The morning of June 14, the Robinsons said, one of the doctors told them that Alissa, by then in a coma, could die within days unless a donor organ became available.

        On June 16, Alissa underwent the transplant.

        Just in the last year, Alissa was twice hospitalized: Three days because of a bug bite that became infected; more recently for surgery to repair a rupture in her transplant incision.

        “It's destroyed her for life; it's destroyed us,” said Jimmie Robinson, a machinist.

        The family is suing Bristol-Myers in state court, alleging that Serzone is a defective product.

        The company declined comment. Other named defendants include Good Samaritan Hospital and two doctors, including the psychiatrist who prescribed Serzone to Alissa. All of the defendants are contesting the lawsuit.


Cold streak approaches record
Some steps to warm up your home
Cold, hard facts about the freeze
Census will revise legislative map
Jurors ask for stricter boating laws
Olympic funding takes hit
Last of stadium cost overruns OK'd
Bedinghaus proud of tenure
Burn victim healing beyond hopes
Muslims mark culmination of holy month
PULFER: Our lives just as thrilling as Kings Island
Acid, allergy link found
Campaign money targeted
City police criticize curfew center monitoring
Death for Cincinnati killer is upheld
Local Digest
Mayor to discuss audit of Villa Hills
- Norwood girl feels health compromised
Party Source is getting bigger
SAMPLES: Plan gives homeless new chance
West Chester to get community TV
Where to recycle your Christmas tree
Awards to celebrate black achievements
Diploma site may be by vote
Lebanon to wrestle with money issues
1st Rupp upgrades: video walls
Car crash kills 6 teens in northeast Ohio
Feds look into massage spa
Fund to remember student


Latest Headline News
Updated Every 30 Minutes

Tens of Thousands View Reagan's Casket

Bush: New NATO Troops in Iraq Not Likely

Israel Offers Cash Advances to Settlers

Grammy-Winning Crooner Ray Charles Dies

Stewart Seeks New Trial, Citing Witness

Army Withholds Chemical Attack Antidote

U.S. Charges Australian Linked to al-Qaida

Study Shows Dogs Can Remember Words

Stocks Close Higher After Jobs Report

Flaherty Slams As Yankees Bop Rockies 10-4

Search our site by keyword:  
Search also: News | Jobs | Homes | Cars | Classifieds | Obits | Coupons | Events | Dining
Movies/DVDs | Video Games | Hotels | Golf | Visitor's Guide | Maps/Directions | Yellow Pages

  CINCINNATI.COM  |  ENQUIRER  |  POST  |  WCPO  |  CIN WEEKLY  |  Classifieds  |  Cars  |  Homes  |  Jobs  |  Customer Service

Search | Questions/help | News tips | Letters to the editors | Subscribe
Newspaper advertising | Web advertising | Place a classified | Circulation

Copyright 1995-2004. The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.
Use of this site signifies agreement to terms of service updated 12/19/2002.