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Saturday, May 26, 2007

It took 17 days for the lab results: An adverse drug reaction

A grandmother died from liver failure after an adverse reaction to a drug, an inquest ruled today.

Sheila Gunn, age 69, died less than seven months after being prescribed Aulin, which contains Nimesulide. The medication was recently ordered off the shelves by the Irish Medicines Board.

Three other people are believed to have died from liver failure after taking the drug, with six others needing liver transplants.

Sheila had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in July 2003 at a Dublin hospital. She was first prescribed the maximum recommended dose of Aulin - 100mgs twice a day - by her general practitioner and had collected six repeat prescriptions. Seven months later, at another hospital, a routine blood test showed significant liver function abnormalities; it took 17 days for the lab to return the results to the clinic.

She was later moved to another hospital where she was diagnosed as suffering from an adverse reaction from Aulin. She was transferred to the intensive care unit, and died there five days later.

Her daughter, Marcia O'Hara, welcomed the ruling by the Dublin City Coroner, saying she hoped her mother's death would prevent another person from losing their life to the drug.

Make sure you get your lab results back promptly.

Read another of our stories about delayed lab results, or read the Irish Times’ source story.

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