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Botox not at fault in girl's death, Orange County jury finds

March 2, 2010 |  4:28 pm

Kristen Spears

An Orange County jury Tuesday ruled against the mother of a Texas girl who contended Botox injections killed her 7-year-old daughter.

The verdict came in what is believed to be the first case to come to trial alleging the botulinum toxin-based drug contributed to a death. At question was the safety of the blockbuster cosmetic drug in the higher dosages used to treat children with cerebral palsy.

Dee Spears, of Amarillo, Texas, had alleged her daughter Kristen died as a result of receiving large doses intended to reduce limb spasticity.

Allergan Inc., the Irvine-based manufacturer, said in a statement that “the jury’s conclusion supports the evidence that Botox played no role in the passing of Kristen Spears."

“The evidence presented in this case and acknowledged by the jury showed that Kristen died as a direct result of the progression of her condition, and that any symptoms or issues affecting Kristen’s health were present before Kristen first received treatment with Botox,” the statement read.

Botox, best known as a face-lift-in-a-syringe, can relax contorted muscles and sometimes help young patients walk without surgery. Kristen Spears began getting Botox injections at the age of 6 to calm spasms in her legs. The girl died on Nov. 24, 2007, at the age of 7.

Testimony in the trial began Jan. 27. The jury deliberated less than three days.

The verdict comes less than a year after federal authorities mandated "black box" labels that warn of potentially serious reactions to Botox.

Several other suits related to the drug’s cosmetic and non-cosmetic use are pending.

-- Lisa Girion

Photo: L.A. Times

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