Alyssah O’Brien’s family is fighting to have her skin cancer treated with a medication called aloe vera.
But they say that over-dose and misuse of the medication could be a factor in the 29-year-old’s death.
O’Briens mother, Barbara, says aloe can be dangerous, especially if taken on an empty stomach.
She says she was given an emergency prescription by her doctor in April for aloe but it wasn’t used for at least two weeks.
“We thought it was OK.
We were worried about it being an overdose.
But it wasn”t an overdose at all,” she said.
She says aloes main ingredients are aloe and lemon.
But, in O’Branches case, the doctors said she was allergic to aloe.
Barbara O’Broich, a dermatologist at Westlake dermatologist, said aloe is considered a safe and effective treatment for skin cancer.
But she says a drug called aloespan, also known as aloe barbadensis, could also cause serious side effects.
OBrians family filed a lawsuit against AloeVera on Monday in federal court in Cleveland.
It seeks class-action status.
Aloe is made up of aloe, salicylic acid, sodium salicylate and vitamin E. The drug is used to treat severe acne.
In rare cases, the medication can cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to salicylamide, a common sunscreen ingredient.
The O’Higgins family is seeking damages, saying that the drug over-prescribed by the doctor and prescribed by a second doctor to her, who also over-purchased the drug.
Alyssae’s mother, Karen O’Brian, says the doctor, Mark Ritchie, used to prescribe the drug without telling her, and he even said he was going to buy it from Aloe.
Aloe is used by tens of millions of people around the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 million people use it every year.
The FDA, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say it is safe and recommended for use.
ABC News’ Tom Gara contributed to this report.