Topamax, a popular drug often used to treat chronic migraine headaches, has been found to increase the risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy. But this is not the only problem with this drug. It has a laundry list of serious side effects, and caution should be used when beginning treatment. |
What is Topamax?
Developed in the late 1970’s Topamax was initially designed as a revolutionary anticonvulsant medication. For the following 2 decades, the scientists at Ortho-McNeil Neurologics and at Noramco (both subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson) worked to bring their idea to light. In 1996, the drug finally found FDA approval as a treatment for epilepsy. With some experimentation it was also found that it worked well treating numerous other conditions as well, including: bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol addiction, borderline personality disorder, and most commonly migraines. Today the drug is marketed as a treatment for those who suffer from migraines. But the treatment may not be worth the risks associated with it.
Side Effects of Topamax
Anything that a person puts into his or her body will have side effects. Even food has side effects (too much makes you feel bloated, too much salt makes you thirst, etc.). As the body becomes accustomed to the Topamax drug, some of the minor side effects like nausea, fatigue, and weight loss will diminish. However, there are some side effects that are a bit more severe. They include conditions like insomnia, mood swings, paranoia, and problems with the eyes and ears. While they may not be serious on their own, these side effects can be the precursors to some very serious conditions that may even be life threatening. Those taking Topamax should be aware of the risks of developing glaucoma, going blind, suffering from panic disorder, or Stevens Johnson Syndrome. All of these are risks the person puts upon themselves. However, it has been shown that taking Topamax during pregnancy can cause birth defects; a risk that is thrust upon an unborn child. Recent studies have shown that women who use Topamax during pregnancy are 11 times more likely to have a child born with oral clefts than those who did not take any medication. These risks were likely known about before the drug hit the market, but it was not until March 2011 that the FDA finally provided a warning.
What to do if Your Child Was Born with Birth Defects
Having a child with birth defects is not fun. But you do have recourse. If you took Topamax during your pregnancy, and your child was born with oral clefts, you should not be responsible to pay for medical treatment. By hiring a personal injury attorney you will be able to seek compensation from the drug manufacturer to help cover the cost of medical bills. There is no need to suffer alone, instead see what can be done to help remedy the situation.
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