By Tracy Dash of Sun Herald

Gulfport – A Pass Christian woman has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of a popular over-the-counter allergy medicine and the drugstore that sold it after her husband suffered a stroke and died.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Harrison County Circuit Court, is the latest in a string of suits filed against the drug company, Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., across the country by people who claim the ingredient phenylpropanolamine (PPA) caused them to suffer a hemorrhagic stroke shortly after taking the medicine.

According to the suit, Kermit Ladner took Tavist-D, a cold and allergy medicine that contains PPA, and suffered a stroke in January 2001. He purchased the medicine from Diamondhead Discount Drugs, Inc., in Pass Christian.

The lawsuit doesn’t specify how much money Betty Ladner is seeking.

“(Kermit Ladner) did not receive any warnings from the product or Diamondhead Drugs indicating that the product could cause a stroke or other life-threatening injuries,” the lawsuit says.

David Greenstone, whose Dallas law firm is representing Ladner, said his firm has filed “a number of other cases” in several states against drug companies whose products contain PPA. Greenstone said he didn’t know the exact number of cases filed, but he believes that Ladner’s suit is the only one his firm has filed in Mississippi.

Greenstone said he isn’t aware of any class action lawsuits being filed.

Attorneys for Tavist-D could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Food and Drug Administration in November 2000 issued a public health advisory expressing its concerns about the safety of products containing PPA after it deemed a report released by scientists at Yale University School of Medicine to be “credible,” according to FDA spokeswoman Stacy Below.

“The report states that PPA, an ingredient that shrinks swollen nasal tissue and opens up passages, increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in women. The report states that men also may be at risk.

PPA also is an ingredient found in some weight loss products.

Soon after the FDA issued the advisory, drug manufacturers voluntarily began reformulating their products to eliminate PPA, Below said.

“There still may be some products with PPA,” Below said, “but we’re working to have them reformulated.”

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