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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sioux City woman sues maker of diet pills containing ephedra

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

A woman who says using a dietary supplement containing ephedra caused her to have a stroke has sued the product's maker.

Carol A. Leuenhagen, of Sioux City, said she took the dietary product Xenadrine to help her lose weight and increase energy. Now, she's accusing Xenadrine-maker Cytodyne Technologies Inc., of Manasquan, N.J., of negligence and products liability for its manufacturing and marketing of the product.

Leuenhagen took the drug on Aug. 21, 2001, and later suffered a severe stroke that left her with difficulty with comprehension, verbal expression and memory loss, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City.

Leuenhagen, who was 30 when she took the drug, will have to take medication to prevent blood clots the rest of her life, according to the lawsuit.

Cytodyne changed its name to Nutraquest in June, and licensed the marketing of its products to a new entity, Cytodyne LLC. A call placed to company spokesman Shane Friedman Sunday morning was not immediately returned.

The company phased out the ephedra-based diet pills early this year and is selling an ephedra-free product, Friedman has said.

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 the lawsuit, Leuenhagen said that Cytodyne didn't include proper warnings about the effects of ephedra, an herbal stimulant that critics claim causes heart-related problems by increasing blood pressure in some users.

The suit also alleges that Cytodyne made a defective product that was more dangerous than other dietary products, and that adequate testing of Xenadrine wasn't done.

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

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