Ronkonkoma mom wants side effect label on asthma medicine

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RONKONKOMA -

A Ronkonkoma mother wants the FDA to change the way a popular generic asthma medicine is labeled.

Laura Marotta says her son Nicholas suffered psychiatric side effects after taking montelukast, which is the generic version of Singulair.

Marotta says her 11-year-old's symptoms worsened when he stopped taking the meds.

"Within two weeks of discontinuation, the unimaginable happened," she says. "Nicholas started to go through debilitating depression. He wasn't able to sleep, he wasn't able to eat."

Marotta brought Nicholas to 10 different doctors. She says no one believed that his problems were a result of the drug, until one finally did and treated him.

"She explained to us that although the medicine would no longer be in his body, the effects to the brain's neurotransmitters could be," Marotta says.

Marotta wanted to know if other people were going through what her family went through, so she looked it up online.

"There were stories of children being hospitalized, being diagnosed with mental disorders, and learning disorders, and developmental disorders," she explains. "And sadly there are some stories of children that had passed away by suicide while taking this drug."

Marotta then scheduled a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration. She asked for the agency to force the pharmaceutical company to clearly state the side effects on the medication, something she says wasn't done when her son was prescribed the drug.

"I thought maybe if they could see my desperation that they would step up, and maybe they would take action," she says.

Marotta says she is hoping the FDA gets either the doctors or the pharmaceutical company to make the side effects known to people, but she doesn't think her voice is enough. She says multiple people who have suffered from the side effects would have to come forward and ask for the same thing to truly make an impact.

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