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Date posted: 12/11/2013

Authored by Chris Schroeder

Following recent warnings by the FDA that the antiepileptic drug Topamax may significantly increase the risk of certain birth defects, hundreds of families have filed lawsuits over their child’s injuries and the failure of Johnson & Johnson to give warning.

Now, in the first two of these cases to conclude trials, juries have determined the drug maker was at fault, and awarded substantial sums to help with each child’s care.

Topamax is commonly prescribed for epilepsy, seizures, bipolar disorder, migraine headaches and weight gain.

Prior to an FDA warning in 2011, the drug was still prescribed to expectant mothers, putting thousands of children at risk. This, despite clear warnings from health experts.

In 2008, a study from the United Kingdom suggested the rate of oral cleft birth defects may be up to 16 times higher for children exposed to Topamax during pregnancy. Data from the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry put the rate of Topamax birth defects at closer to 21 times the normal rate.

Records from the FDA’s MedWatch adverse event reporting system have also noted infants born with heart defects, lung defects, deformed limbs and spinal cord defects after exposure to Topamax.

So far, nearly 150 families have filed a Topamax lawsuit alleging birth defects from the drug so far in a special multidistrict court in Pennsylvania. During the first two trials this year, lawyers alleged Johnson & Johnson knew of these Topamax birth defects dangers as early as 1997, but didn’t warn consumers.

Now, DrugRisk has learned that juries awarded one family $4 million this October and another family $11 million in November for oral cleft birth defects suffered by children after exposure to Topamax during pregnancy.

Experts believe hundreds more children may have suffered birth defects from Topamax without their families knowing the true cause and lawyers are urging those affected to seek legal help.

If your child suffered cleft lip, cleft palate, heart or lung defects. Deformed limbs or other defects after you took Topamax, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Due to the specialized nature of these cases, DrugRisk only recommends lawyers who have already handled Topamax lawsuits.

Contact us today for more information on the research, side effects and litigation news related to Topamax, or to speak with a lawyer.