What Is Tepezza?

What Is Tepezza?

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What Is Tepezza?

Tepezza is the brand name for a drug called teprotumumab used to treat a rare condition called thyroid eye disease (TED). The drug is manufactured and sold by Horizon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and is only available for use in the United States.

Tepezza was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2020, and while it does seem to be effective in treating TED, it also has side effects. One of the most devastating side effects is hearing loss.

Several individuals who took the drug have either lost their hearing or developed tinnitus. And unfortunately, the hearing loss appears to be irreversible.

If you have taken Tepezza and are now experiencing any type of hearing loss, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free case evaluation to determine whether you can get financial restitution for your losses.

What Is Thyroid Eye Disease?

Before you ask, “What is Tepezza?” you should understand thyroid eye disease. TED is an autoimmune disorder that affects periorbital tissue. It typically expresses itself in the following ways:

  • Eyelid lag
  • Bulging eyes
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Redness or swelling
  • Upper eyelid retraction

Most commonly, TED is present in people who are suffering from Graves’ disease.

TED is rare, appearing in less than 0.01% of the population, and it is significantly more common in women than in men. And of the people who suffer from it, only about 4% experience severe symptoms like intense pain or loss of vision.

What Is Tepezza’s History?

Before the brand name existed, teprotumumab was being tested as a treatment for several types of cancer, including breast cancer and lymphoma. Early testing appeared promising, but eventually, it failed to produce results.

A few years after those tests were discontinued, new tests were implemented to use the drug to treat ophthalmic conditions. These tests were more promising, eventually resulting in two major trials.

Each of these trials included 170 subjects who were suffering from TED. Trial subjects were randomly administered either teprotumumab or a placebo. At the end of the trial, scientists measured eye protrusion in all of the patients. Patients who had received the drug showed a significantly higher reduction in protrusion than those who did not.

These trials were viewed as a great success, and the FDA fast-tracked the application to approve the drug for use in treating TED.

Known Side Effects of Tepezza

Like almost every other drug on the market, Tepezza has side effects. It should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or intends to become pregnant. 

Also, based on the studies performed, patients are warned that Tepezza might cause the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Loss of hair
  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Increase in blood sugar
  • Changes in sense of taste

Hearing loss is the main reason that many patients who have used Tepezza have filed lawsuits against Horizon Pharmaceuticals. The hearing loss appears to be permanent, and it is more severe than people were warned about.

Some patients have completely lost their hearing, while others experience severe tinnitus. This is a life-altering side effect that is worse than the occasional irritation that most TED patients experience.

Balancing the Risks vs. the Benefits of Tepezza

As attorneys, we can’t tell you whether you should take Tepezza. That is a discussion you should have with your doctor.

Any decision you make should be based on the severity of your TED. Some cases of TED are relatively minor, resulting in minimal redness or swelling. Other people may be at risk of losing their vision due to the disease, which is considerably more serious. 

No one should have to decide between a potential loss of hearing and a potential loss of vision. And we have sympathy for anyone who is in that position.

Why Tepezza Lawsuits Exist

Tepezza is a relatively new drug. Just a few years ago, even most doctors couldn’t answer the question, “What is Tepezza?” And like most new drugs, because doctors weren’t familiar with it, they relied on the drug manufacturer’s claims when prescribing the medication to patients.

And whether it was intentional or accidental, the manufacturer wasn’t forthcoming about the severity of at least one of the side effects of the drug: loss of hearing.

Many patients were devastated to discover that they were facing permanent hearing problems after taking a drug designed to treat what is often a minor problem. They hadn’t been warned of the severity of the hearing issues or their frequency. Over half of all patients experienced some hearing problems after taking the drug.

What Is Tepezza’s Lawsuit Timeline?

So far, the Tepezza lawsuit is in its infancy. It was filed in 2023, and at this point, it is primarily in the investigative phase. Experts are looking into the situation to determine whether negligence was involved, and if so, who should be liable for damages.

These investigations may take months or years, depending on how quickly evidence is collected. Unfortunately, this is a necessity in any lawsuit, and there are not many ways to speed up the process.

Once experts in the field have ironed out the specifics of the case, it will move forward. Typically, if enough evidence has been collected, attorneys for the litigants will attempt to negotiate a settlement. This is usually the best result for everyone involved.

When attorneys negotiate a settlement, the responsible parties generally pay fair compensation that’s less than the maximum possible jury award. Since both parties can avoid the high costs involved in a trial, this solution tends to benefit both the litigants and the defendants.

If a settlement can’t be negotiated, or the litigant refuses to accept all offers made by the defendant, the case goes to trial. Typically, a trial takes a few years to complete. And some trials drag on for over a decade, especially if there are complicated issues or appeals. At the end of the trial, the jury decides who gets paid and how much.

Morgan and Morgan and Tepezza

The problems with Tepezza only recently came to light. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are aware of the situation, but they have only just begun to investigate. However, that doesn’t mean our law firm can’t help you if you have been harmed by this drug.

If you believe that you have a case, you can schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers who focuses on medical cases. They will evaluate your situation and provide you with options that may include filing a lawsuit to get compensation for the harm you suffered from Tepezza.

Even if you aren’t certain whether you’re eligible for compensation, you should speak to one of our attorneys as soon as possible. If these lawsuits go like most other drug lawsuits, there will likely be time limits on when you can act. And if you wait too long, your opportunity to get compensation may disappear before you realize it.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • Will My Lawsuit Be Against the Manufacturer of Tepezza or the Doctor Who Prescribed It to Me?

    This question is one of the things that’s still being decided pending investigation. Typically, manufacturers are at least partially responsible in these types of lawsuits because they either failed to report known side effects or didn’t do as much research as they should have.

    Given how many people have experienced unexpectedly severe hearing problems, it seems likely that most Tepezza lawsuits will be against the manufacturer. However, individual cases will vary, and a Morgan and Morgan attorney will determine definitively which party is responsible for the harm you suffered.

  • Does Any Other Company Produce Teprotumumab in the U.S.?

    Horizon Pharmaceuticals, which produces Tepezza, is the only company that manufactures the drug for use in the U.S. If it gets approved for other uses in the future, it may be produced under another brand name.

  • What Is Tepezza Good for Other Than Treating TED?

    Tepezza has no other approved uses in the U.S. If a doctor prescribes you Tepezza for any reason other than to treat TED, you should speak to an attorney immediately. That may be a negligent off-use prescription.

  • Can I Sue if I Think I Was Harmed by Tepezza in Some Way Other Than Loss of Hearing?

    So far, loss of hearing is the most common side effect of Tepezza, but that doesn’t mean it is the only possible serious side effect. If you believe that you have been seriously harmed by the drug in any way, speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

  • What Are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?

    Tinnitus is a condition where you hear ringing sounds that don’t exist outside of your ears. Nearly everybody suffers minor levels of tinnitus when in an entirely silent room. However, serious cases affect people all the time.

    If you suffer from a severe case of tinnitus, you have effectively lost your hearing because you are hearing a loud ringing noise continuously. It overwhelms other sounds and makes it impossible for you to hear anything else.

    The worst thing about tinnitus is that there are few effective treatments. Once you start experiencing this, it will likely plague you for the rest of your life.

  • Why Was Tepezza Approved by the FDA?

    The FDA approved teprotumumab because the two studies that were performed showed exceptional results. Presumably, the side effect of hearing loss was not apparent during those trials. It took approximately two years of use before the side effect became apparent enough for a lawsuit.

  • Is Horizon Pharmaceuticals an American Company?

    The company is legally headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, but it also has an operational headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

  • Do I Have to Sue the Company in Ireland?

    No. You can file a lawsuit against the company in a U.S. court of law.

  • If I Took Tepezza in the Past But Don’t Have Any Signs of Hearing Loss, Am I Safe?

    Unfortunately, no one knows yet for certain. To be safe, you should speak to your doctor and have your hearing tested immediately. And you may want to get tested regularly for the next few years as well.

  • Contact an Experienced Attorney to Learn More

    If you have any questions about the drug Tepezza, side effects associated with the drug, or potential lawsuits, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. 

    Contact Morgan and Morgan today for a free case evaluation to get started.

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