Seven-year-old cerebral palsy patient Kristen Spears, a resident of Texas, died in November of 2007 after having an adverse reaction to the large doses of Botox she was receiving. The drug, which is more popularly known to reduce signs of aging and wrinkles, was being used to treat the Texas girl’s cerebral palsy.
This week, a jury found that the Botox manufacturer, Allergan, Inc., was not responsible for the girl’s death.
In the Texas cerebral palsy lawsuit, Allergan argued that Spears died of her cerebral palsy condition, not of a Botox overdose. Spears’ mother argued that Botox does not contain a warning regarding the dangers of the drug in large doses. Just months before the trial began, the Food & Drug Administration required that Allergan add a black box warning to the drug regarding the dangers of large doses, such as those used to treat children with cerebral palsy. Doctors believe that in some cases, Botox can help children with cerebral palsy to regain some control of their spastic limbs.
While the jury agreed that Botox was dangerous – and that those using Botox for non-traditional uses are surely unaware of the side effects – they also agreed that Allergan was not responsible for Spears’ death. However, another similar lawsuit has already been filed and Allergan must continue to defend its drug. Until then, cerebral palsy victims using Botox as treatment may not be aware of the dangerous side effects of the drug – and the dangers of a suppressed respiratory system and death.