As Topamax continues to be used at higher and higher rates, it is expected that Topamax-related adverse effects are going to continue to rise as well. For example, the birth defects that are commonly linked to the use of Topamax during pregnancy are likely to increase overall now that Topamax continues to be used in treating pregnant epileptic women.
Topamax is FDA-approved as a treatment for preventing seizures in epileptics. While the drug has proven successful, it is not without its side effects. Birth defects such as PPHN, spina bifida, oral clefts, neural tube defects and other neurological and physical defects have been linked to Topamax use in pregnant women’s offspring. Other side effects linked to Topamax use include suicidal thoughts and behaviors. However, the drug is also prescribed as a treatment for migraines. This off-label (not FDA approved) use of Topamax is growing regardless of the dangerous adverse effects.
The effects of Topamax are so dangerous that multiple whistleblower lawsuits were filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals amid claims that the drug makers illegally marketed and promoted the pills’ off-label uses. The lawsuits prompted the companies to admit to promoting off-label uses for the anti-seizure medication Topamax between 2001 and 2003. Under the terms of the settlement agreement reached with the Department of Justice, Ortho-McNeil is going to plead guilty “to a criminal misdemeanor violation and pay a $6.1 million fine. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay more than $75 million.”
Regardless of this admission of guilt by Ortho-McNeil, Topamax is still being prescribed in its off-label capacity as well as to pregnant epileptic women. This will inevitably increase the rate of children born with birth defects. If your baby was born with birth defects after in-utero exposure to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injuries.