The drug Topiramate is sold as the brand name Topamax by Johnson & Johnson. It was approved by the FDA in 1996 to treat epilepsy and seizures, but has been used by millions since to also treat migraine headaches, bipolar disorder and weight gain.
Topamax was created by Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries Ortho-McNeil and Noramco, but is now sold by another J&J company, Janssen.
In recent years, studies have shown that Topamax side effects can increase the risk of some birth defects such as oral clefts when it is taken by women who are pregnant. Hundreds of families have already filed lawsuits for their children’s injuries.
According to the manufacturer, common Topamax side effects may include:
However, a study from the United Kingdom in recent years discovered that infants whose mothers were prescribed Topamax during early trimesters of pregnancy were 11 times as likely to be born with a cleft lip or cleft palate.
Reports to the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry also indicate that Topamax use while pregnant may raise the rate of cleft lip or cleft palate birth defects by up to 20 times normal. FDA records also show infants exposed to Topamax have been born with heart defects, lung defects, deformed limbs and spinal cord defects like spina bifida.
In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to patients about Topamax side effects causing birth defects. However, legal experts claim that Johnson & Johnson had reason to know of these risks, but didn’t let patients of doctors know for over a decade.
If your child was born with a birth defect such as cleft lip or cleft palate after you took Topamax, it is important to speak with a lawyer. You may be entitled to substantial compensation to help their condition. Contact us today.
Oral clefts are congenital facial deformities that appear as gaps in the lip or upper mouth bone. They can occur when an infant’s skull plates don’t completely fuse together, or when facial features don’t complete development in the first and second trimester.
Cleft lip and cleft palate defects can be fixed with surgery. However, this may take several procedures or cause children to endure needless pain. Also, those children who don’t receive early surgery or who develop scars may face various psychosocial problems.
Experts are concerned that the widespread usage of this drug prior to the FDA warning in 2011 may have put thousands of children at risk of Topamax side effects like oral clefts or other birth defects.
Court records show that nearly 200 families have filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over Topamax birth defects. In recent trials, lawyers have alleged the company knew of these dangers as early as 1997, but did not disclose them to the public.
So far, in two Topamax birth defect trials, juries have awarded children and their families $4 million and $11 million for cleft defects. Now, lawyers are urging anyone else affected to get legal help before it is too late.
If your child was born with a birth defect after you took Topamax, lawyers are available to discuss your case today at no cost.
Due to the difficult nature and value of defective drug lawsuits, however, it is important to choose a lawyer who specializes in these cases and has experience fighting large drug companies. DrugRisk works only with lawyers who have already handled Topamax lawsuits.
Contact us today for more information on the side effects, warnings, research and litigation related to Topamax, or to speak directly with a lawyer. We are available 24 hours a day.