Misdiagnosis of Medication Causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease


About medication causes: Another misdiagnosis possibility is that a particular medication or substance may be the real cause of the disease. Certain medications, chemicals, toxins or substances may possibly be underlying causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Side effects of medications, or exposure to toxins, chemicals, or other substances may cause a symptom or condition. Hence, they become possible underlying causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease but are often misdiagnosed or overlooked as a cause. For a general overview of this misdiagnosis issue, see Medication Underlying Cause Misdiagnosis.

Medication causes: About 8,000 patients in the United States received NHPP growth hormone. Of these, we now believe that 22 may have developed CJD. Six overseas patients who received hGH from U.S. labs that produced the hormone for NHPP may also have developed CJD. The experts who help us with the follow-up study have concluded that a CJD diagnosis is confirmed or likely in 19 U.S. cases. We are still evaluating the medical records of three suspected U.S. cases. 1

CJD takes a long time to develop. Because most patients received growth hormone for many years, we do not know exactly when they were exposed to CJD. In U.S. patients, average CJD onset was 19 years after the midpoint of hGH treatment. CJD developed as soon as 4 years and as long as 25 years after stopping therapy, and from 14 years to 33 years after starting treatment. 1

1. excerpt from Update Follow-Up Study of NHPP Growth Hormone Recipients: NIDDK

Last revision: May 26, 2003

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