Recent antiepileptic side effect studies have suggested that fetal exposure to the anticonvulsant drug, Topamax, may significantly increase an infant's risk of being born with serious birth defects. In response to new information provided by the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry, the FDA has elevated the pregnancy category of Topamax from C to D, a category reserved for drugs which positive human evidence has shown may cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. The FDA has also issued a side effect safety announcement warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate among infants exposed to topiramate (Topamax) during pregnancy. If you took Topamax while pregnant and your child was born with one or more serious birth defects, contact a Topamax lawyer to discuss your legal options. Your child may be entitled to life-long care, or financial compensation for his injuries and medical treatment, which you can collect by filing a Topamax lawsuit against the drug's manufacturing company, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical.
Topamax is a prescription medication which falls into the category of anticonvulsant drug. Topamax (topiramate) is used by itself or in combination with other anticonvulsant drugs to inhibit the firing of certain impulses in the brain which are responsible for causing seizure-related episodes. The drug was originally approved by the FDA in 1996 to treat tonic-clonic and partial onset seizures associated with epilepsy, and received additional approval in 2004 for the prevention of migraine headaches. Topamax is currently manufactured by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, a division of pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson.
Topamax has become one of the most popular anticonvulsant drugs, prescribed by physicians across the country. In fact, anticonvulsant medications like Topamax have become one of the primary methods of preventing migraine headaches, a condition which is significantly more prevalent among women than men, especially among women of childbearing age. Unfortunately, an emerging body of side effect research has suggested that Topamax may actually be dangerous in treating pregnant women, potentially leading to the development of one or more serious birth defects among exposed infants. According to a number of antiepileptic side effect studies, women who take Topamax during pregnancy may significantly increase their chances of giving birth to infants with major malformations.
Because of this information, the FDA has advised physicians to avoid prescribing Topamax to pregnant women unless the possible benefits of the drug justify the potential Topamax side effect risks to the fetus. Although migraine headaches can be rather debilitating, because this condition poses little to no danger to the mother, Topamax may no longer be an appropriate method of treatment for women of childbearing age suffering from migraines. Unfortunately, because many birth defects are established during the first trimester of pregnancy, and because nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, all women of childbearing age taking Topamax may be at risk of causing irreversible harm to their unborn child before they are even aware they are pregnant.
The birth defects potentially associated with the side effects from the use of Topamax during pregnancy include cleft lip, cleft palate and hypospadias. Both cleft lip and cleft palate are craniofacial birth defects, involving the improper development of a child's upper lip or palate during fetal development. Hypospadias is a genital malformation affecting male infants, characterized by a misplaced opening of the urethra. As early as 2001, the New England Journal of Medicine was publishing studies in which researchers indicated that anticonvulsant drugs like Topamax are one of the most common causes of potential harm to a fetus in utero. In 2008, the journal Neurology published a study which determined that infants exposed to Topamax during pregnancy were fourteen times more likely to develop hypospadias and eleven times more likely to develop cleft lip or cleft palate, compared to unexposed infants. More recently, the NAAED Pregnancy Registry collected data which suggested that infants born to women who took topiramate (Topamax) while pregnant were twenty times more likely to be born with cleft lip or cleft palate, compared to infants whose mothers took no anticonvulsants while pregnant. This information finally convinced the FDA to increase the pregnancy registry of Topamax from C to D, although the drug still remains on the market, available to millions of consumers across the country.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect and you believe Topamax to be the cause, contact a Topamax lawyer to discuss your legal options. A Topamax lawyer can inform you of the benefits of filing a Topamax lawsuit or join a potential Topamax class action lawsuit against Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical (Johnson & Johnson), in order to seek financial compensation for your child's injuries, the medical expenses associated with treating his injuries, and the pain and suffering endured by your child and your family. In most cases, cleft lip, cleft palate or hypospadias can be treated effectively with reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, seeking proper medical care for infants with birth defects can result in costly medical bills, which can easily become an overwhelming financial burden for an already emotionally distressed family.
Following a birth defect diagnosis, families of victims should be given adequate time to concentrate on caring for their child without having to worry about compiling evidence to file a Topamax lawsuit or join a Topamax class action lawsuit as well. Fortunately, Topamax lawyers are well-versed in defective drug litigation and can help victims and their families feel confident that their case will be professionally and effectively represented. Topamax lawyers are an extremely valuable resources to have on your side during this difficult time; they are able to easily obtain critical information like medical records and insurance documentation, which may not be readily available to the general public, and they also have access to medical and scientific experts who can offer professional testimony regarding your potential Topamax birth defect case.
Victims of serious injuries resulting from the proper use of a dangerous drug are not at fault. Pharmaceutical companies like Ortho-McNeil are responsible for the safety of their medications, even after they enter the market, and should be held accountable for any injuries sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, defective drug victims are often taken advantage of during their time of need, either by deceptive drug companies, or insurance companies whose claims adjusters are sometimes trained to deny personal injury claims in order to save the company money. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect which you believe to be associated with the use of Topamax, fill out the Topamax Claim Review Form to discuss your claim with a knowledgeable Topamax attorney. Birth defect victims deserve reimbursement for the pain and suffering they endure on a daily basis; by hiring a Topamax lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and collect the financial compensation you are entitled to.
The use of Topamax should not be discontinued without first talking to a physician, even in women who are pregnant. Sudden termination of Topamax therapy may cause serious problems for both mother and child, as can untreated epilepsy during pregnancy.
Spread the word so women are aware of the risks for both anticonvulsant birth defects and antidepressant birth defects and so families dealing with the hardship and expenses of lifetime care can get financial help from experienced class action attorneys. Learn more about Side Effects from prescription drugs.
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Topamax lawyers could file defective drug side effect lawsuits against Ortho-Mcneil for alleged birth defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate, or hypospadias genital defects caused by taking Topamax while pregnant. Fill out the contact form above to be in touch with a qualified Topamax attorney and explore your lawsuit or Topamax class action options.