Topamax, sometimes called by its chemical name Topiramate, is a drug used to help combat seizures and in some cases to help with migraines. It's also in trial stages for use treating other problems. However, while it is an important part of controlling some problems, new data has suggested that Topamax use during pregnancy can trigger birth defects in children, notably cleft palate or cleft lip. This data is fairly recent and as a result many expectant mothers may not have been made aware of the potential risk when they began using the drug. Those who have used Topamax and given birth to a child with birth defects should consider talking to an attorney since they may have legal grounds to pursue financial compensation.
A number of different side effects are also reported from any drug's use. Topamax use can trigger a number of different side effects including things like
The birth defects are the more alarming of the different side effects the drug can cause. Topamax was prescribed to more than 4.3 million patients between January of 2007 and December of 2010. However, it wasn't until March 4, 2011 that the United States Food and Drug Administration released a statement to doctors warning them about the dangers of Topamax use during pregnancy and the damage it could cause to unborn children. As a result, a huge number of babies were born with oral clefts as a result of their mothers taking the drug during pregnancy. The mothers were led to believe that the drug was safe to take, when obviously this was not the case.
Additionally, Ortho-McNeil, makers of the drug, pled guilty in 2010 of promoting Topamax for psychiatric use without gaining FDA approval to do so. In short, no research had been done into the safety of the drug when used for psychiatric problems but the drug maker marketed Topamax as though it had been approved for just such a use. The company was fined 6.14 million dollars, but the effects were far-reaching.
If you or someone you love has given birth to a child with a cleft lip or cleft palate and who took Topamax during pregnancy, or if you were given the drug for psychiatric use and developed any kind of problem as a result of its use, you may have the legal right to seek financial restitution for your injuries. Contact an attorney to find out more about what your rights are and whether or not you can file a complaint against Ortho-McNeil.
Like many other drugs, particularly those that have an effect on the brain, Topamax has several different applications. It is most commonly used to help prevent migraines and to prevent seizures. Recently, it has been prescribed to combat bipolar disorder or to fight against the weight gain that antidepressant use can cause. The drug is currently undergoing research to see if it can help treat alcoholism, obesity, binge eating, and even addiction to methamphetamine. But no matter its usage, the dangers are worth understanding and in some cases may not have been fully explained until it was too late.