It looks as if epilepsy medications like Topamax will not be considered a viable treatment option for the 12 teenage girls from a rural high school in North Carolina since their epilepsy-like symptoms have been dismissed as a form of Mass Psychogenic Illness — otherwise referred to as “mass hysteria.” This is according to an article posted online by wgrz.com regarding a case that has gotten much attention as of late.
When the 12 girls started experiencing symptoms back in 2002 that are similar to those suffered by epilepsy patients, including involuntary tics, it caused their parents to become desperate to get a diagnosis. Most of the parents are left feeling very dissatisfied after the symptoms were diagnosed to be psychological instead of physical.
Dr. E. Steve Roach (who hasn’t treated or met the girls), an expert in the field and chief of neurology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, has tried to explain the parents reactions to the diagnoses by stating, “I’ve had people get just practically angry, because you’re telling them that it’s psychological.”
In an interview with 2 on Your Side, Roach notes, “You’re telling them, ‘Okay, your child is going to live happily ever after and doesn’t have some dreaded, untreatable disease’… I mean, wow, that ought to be a cause for celebration and yet you’ll see people sometimes react angrily to that.”
Some people believe that the girls’ symptoms are more like Tourette’s syndrome. However, during a recent appearance on The Today Show, one of the girls, Thera Sanchez, 17, stated that her doctor believed her symptoms to be stress-induced. Sanchez [who doesn’t necessarily agree with the diagnosis] is angry and claims that her symptoms have worsened. The girls’ mothers have tried to get evidential proof through testing from the health department as a means of figuring out if there is a safety hazard at the school that may be causing the conditions. While each of the girls’ own doctors has conducted his or her own tests, the parents have nothing collective to help them get any closer to finding the right treatment options.
While a secure diagnosis may never be fully available to the parents or their daughters, some of the girls will be meeting with Dr. Rosario Trifiletti, from Downstate New York, on Sunday. She believes that the symptoms may be caused by an autoimmune disorder.
In any case, if epilepsy is to be blamed for these girls’ conditions, it may help them to know that not all medications for treating the condition are equal. Topamax (topiramate) may prove to do them more harm than good since the drug has been linked to birth defects in babies who are born to mothers that take the drug while pregnant. Young women of child-bearing age are being advised by the FDA and other healthcare professionals against taking the drug to avoid the potential dangers Topamax can pose to a fetus. Topamax has been linked to serious birth defects, including oral clefts, cleft palate, PPHN and neural tube defects.
If your baby was born with birth defects after being exposed to Topamax in-utero, contact the attorneys at 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 baby’s injuries.