It turns out that antidepressants are not the only drugs being used to treat bipolar disorders. Some patients are being treated with the anticonvulsant medication Topamax, which has been linked to birth defects in babies whose mothers take the drug while pregnant.

Topamax (topiramate) is generally used as a preventative treatment for epileptic seizures and migraine relief. However, Topamax can help to alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder, says the National Institute of Mental Health. To date, Topamax is not approved by the FDA to treat psychiatric conditions so in this capacity, its use is considered an off-label application of the drug.

When doctors prescribe Topamax to bipolar patients, it is thought to ease the mania, depression and mood swings for the patient, which is characteristic of the condition. Some doctors prescribe the Topamax as a stand-alone treatment, while others combine the medication with other drugs. And if you’re thinking that anticonvulsant medications may not sound like an appropriate treatment for such a serious mental condition, recent studies like the Consumers Union Summary (2007) would agree with you. That report suggested that drugs like Topamax show no real statistical proof that they even work at all. So why would anyone take it? For some patients, the usual treatment medications (Paxil, Effexor, Zoloft) are too dangerous to even try to take or they don’t respond well to them. It is in this case that a doctor might turn to Topamax as a last-ditch effort.

But before patients or doctors turn to Topamax as an alternative treatment to antidepressants for bipolar disorders, it should be pointed out that Topamax is also dangerous — especially to the offspring of a woman taking the drug. Topamax causes various birth defects in babies born to mothers that use the drug while pregnant. Some of those birth defects include PPHN, oral clefts, neural tube defects and spina bifida. Some babies also experience heart, lung and brain 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.