Migraine Medication Mix-up Leads to Brain Injury for Michigan Woman

shutterstock_129068171A doctor and a pharmacist put a Columbus, Michigan, woman at grave risk because they failed to recognize, and warn her about, the life-threatening interactions of two migraine medications she was prescribed.  The combined effects of Axert and Imitrex, prescribed by Dr. L and dispensed by Rite Aid pharmacist Mr. J, caused a brain bleed that left Mrs. S permanently paralyzed on the left side of her body.

Dr. L had been treating Mrs. S for migraine headaches for ten years. Mrs. S was given a prescription for Axert for relief of her migraine.  When Mrs. S suffered a migraine during the day on    October 29, 2010, she took the Axert.  The migraine did not go away.  Mrs. S’s daughter called Dr. L’s office.  Dr. L then called in a prescription for Imitrex to Rite Aid pharmacy.  Dr. L never asked if Mrs. S had taken her Axert that day.  Dr. L also did not warn Mrs. S’s daughter that the Imitrex should never be taken within 24 hours of taking Axert.

Mrs. S’s husband picked up the new prescription for Imitrex from the Rite Aid pharmacy that also dispensed Mrs. S’s Axert.  The pharmacist, Mr. J, did not counsel Mrs. S’s husband that the Imitrex should never be taken within 24 hours of taking Axert.

After taking the Imitrex injection the evening of October 29, 2010, Mrs. S began to have difficulty sitting upright, using her hands, speaking, and moving the left side of her body. Mrs. S was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron where a CT scan revealed she had suffered an acute brain bleed and cerebrovascular accident (CVA), more commonly known as a stroke.  Because Mrs. S was in critical condition, she was transferred to Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center.  In the emergency room at Mount Clemens, Mrs. S’s condition worsened and she needed a breathing tube inserted in order to protect her airway.

A neurosurgeon performed a craniotomy on Mrs. S on October 30, 2010, to relieve the bleeding in her brain.  After surgery, Mrs. S still required a breathing tube, and was admitted to the intensive care unit in critical, but stable, condition.

During a rehabilitation evaluation on November 3, 2010, it was determined that Mrs. S had left sided paralysis, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty talking as a result of the brain bleed and stroke.  Mrs. S required medications for severe pain as well as an anti-epileptic medication because the brain injury put her at risk for seizures.

Mrs. S was transferred to a rehabilitation center on November 5, 2010, where she received physical and occupational therapy.  Mrs. S fell twice while in the rehabilitation center because of her poor balance and left sided weakness.

Mrs. S returned home on December 22, 2010 where she continued to undergo therapy.  Mrs. S’s paralysis is permanent.  She still requires assistance for all daily activities and must use devices such as a cane and ankle brace to help her walk.  The brain injury and paralysis continue to cause Mrs. S severe pain.

Jules Olsman and Donna MacKenzie of Olsman, Mueller, Wallace & MacKenzie have filed suit on behalf of Mrs. S against Dr. L, Rite Aid Pharmacy, and pharmacist Mr. J for failing to recognize the risk posed to Mrs. S’s health in taking Axert and Imitrex concurrently.