Topamax is a prescription drug that is manufactured by the Ortho-McNeil company and was approved for use in 1996 by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. This medication was used strictly to treat seizures until 2004 when it was also approved in the treatment of migraine headaches. From that time until the present, Topamax has been prescribed by doctors to treat a myriad of other health conditions as well.
Patients who have previously used Topamax have reported certain side effects with enough regularity that they are included as a warning to others who are considering starting on Topamax. These common side effects include tingling and numbness in the arms and legs, fatigue that persists throughout the day, unplanned weight loss and changes in the taste of foods and beverages.
Topamax has also been associated with very serious side effects, beginning with eye problems. Users of Topamax reported pain and redness of the eye, impaired vision and fluid build-up in the eye which can lead to glaucoma. Other serious side effects include fever, the development of brittle bones, kidney stones, stunted growth in children, irregular heartbeat, difficulty concentrating, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, increased level of aggression, confusion, memory loss and vomiting.
Babies born to mothers who took Topamax early in pregnancy face a risk that is 20 times greater than average for developing a birth defect known as cleft palate. This condition causes incomplete development of the lips, mouth and nose and can lead to lifelong problems if not corrected during infancy. The child may develop speech problems, have nutritional deficiencies and be subject to frequent ear infections. Surgery is required to correct the cleft palate, and it may have to be repeated as the child grows.
Other less common birth defects that have been tied to Topamax include abnormalities in the bones and defects in the genitals of both male and female infants. In most cases, women took Topamax before even realizing they were pregnant and were unaware of any risk being passed on to their babies.
Parents of children born with a birth defect due to the mother's early use of Topamax have begun filing lawsuits against Ortho McNeil, alleging that they were not adequately warned of risk to the developing baby prior to taking the drug. The lawsuits seek to recover payment for the child's medical costs, including surgery, adaptive therapy and the child's pain and suffering due to being born with a cleft palate.
The assistance of attorneys is being sought in large numbers, leading some attorneys to invite clients to join in a class action lawsuit against the maker of Topamax. Parents of children born with Topamax birth defects and who are interested in learning more about a class action lawsuit can contact an attorney in their local area for more information. Most legal offices offer a free consultation session, so parents can learn whether they meet the criteria for filing a personal injury lawsuit.