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Sioux City Woman Sues Company That Made Diet Pill With Ephedra

Aug 23, 2003 | Sioux City Journal

A Sioux City woman has sued the maker of a dietary product, claiming the ephedra it contained caused her to have a stroke.

Carol A. Leuenhagen is accusing Cytodyne Technologies Inc. of Manasquan, N.J., of negligence and products liability for its manufacturing and marketing of Xenadrine, a dietary product she took to help her lose weight and increase energy.

According to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Leuenhagen, 30 at the time, took the Xenadrine on the morning of Aug. 21, 2001. Later in the day, she began to feel dizzy and had numbness and paralysis in her right arm. She suffered a severe stroke that has left her with difficulty with comprehension, expressing her thoughts verbally and memory loss. She will have to take medication to prevent blood clots the rest of her life.

Leuenhagen said in the suit that Cytodyne did not include proper warnings about the symptoms, scope or severity of potential side effects of ephedra, a stimulant that can elevate blood pressure and increase heart rate.

The suit alleges that Cytodyne manufactured a defective product that was more dangerous than other dietary products, and adequate testing of Xenadrine was not performed.

Leuenhagen's husband, Kevin, also is suing the company for loss of consortium with his wife.

The couple has asked for a jury trial and an award of damages for medical expenses and punitive damages.

In June, Cytodyne was ordered to pay $12.5 million to consumers in a California class action lawsuit after a court ruled that its advertisements were deceptive.

The use of ephedra gained national attention this spring after Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler died during spring training. He had been using a supplement containing ephedra to lose weight.

According to Leuenhagen's lawsuit, dietary products containing ephedra have been linked to more than 100 deaths and hundreds of cases of serious adverse reactions.

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