Cleft Palate and Topamax

Cleft palate Topamax birth defects have been associated with side effects of Topamax use in pregnancy and lawsuits are being filed by Topamax attorneys in the US.  Contact a Topamax lawyer for more info.

According to new Topamax birth defect information and FDA warnings, infants born to women who take the anticonvulsant Topamax during pregnancy may have a significantly increased risk of developing birth defects like cleft palate and cleft lip. Topamax has been available on the U.S. market since 1996 when it was FDA-approved for the treatment of epilepsy. In 2004, the FDA approved Topamax for the additional purpose of preventing migraine headaches. The active ingredient in Topamax is topiramate, and the drug works by inhibiting the firing of certain impulses in the brain responsible for causing seizure-related episodes. Topamax is currently manufactured by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Since its introduction, Topamax has become one of the most frequently prescribed anticonvulsant drugs on the market. Unfortunately, an emerging body of research has identified fetal exposure to Topamax as a possible risk factor for the development of serious Topamax side effects like cleft palate birth defects. According to this Topamax side effect information, the anticonvulsant drug may no longer be considered safe in the treatment of pregnant women or women of childbearing age. If you took Topamax while pregnant and your child was born with a serious birth defect like cleft palate, contact a Topamax attorney, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Cleft Palate Symptoms

Cleft palate is a congenital Topamax birth defect characterized by the incomplete closure of a child's palate during fetal development. Cleft palate occurs when there isn't enough tissue in the palate area in utero, preventing a child's palate from forming properly. Cleft palate may involve the bony front portion of the mouth or the soft back portion of the mouth, and can vary in severity from a small opening at the back of the mouth to a nearly complete separation of the roof of the mouth.

Cleft Palate Treatment and Complications

Children born with cleft palate typically suffer from a number of complications associated with the malformation. Because of the separation between the nose and mouth, children with cleft palate may struggle with difficulties during feeding. Because they are more prone to having fluid build up in their ears, children with cleft palate often experience chronic ear infections and possibly even hearing loss. Other potential side effects of cleft palate include dental problems like missing or malformed teeth, and delays in speech and language development. The only way to permanently repair a cleft palate and correct these complications is for an affected child to undergo surgery.

Topamax and Cleft Palate Studies

The FDA recently issued a safety announcement warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate birth defects in children exposed to Topamax during pregnancy. This FDA warning was based on new data collected by the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, which indicated that children exposed to Topamax in utero were twenty times more likely to be born with one or both of these birth defects. Another Topamax side effect study was published in the journal Neurology in 2008, in which researchers found an eleven-times increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate, and a fourteen-times increased risk of genital defects like hypospadias, among infants exposed to Topamax in pregnancy.

Topamax Use in Pregnancy

The FDA recently elevated the pregnancy category of Topamax from C to D, which means there is positive human evidence of the drug's potential to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Topamax and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider immediately. You should never suddenly stop taking a prescription medication, but with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer way to treat your medical condition.

Topamax Attorneys for Cleft Palate Side Effects

Children born with cleft palate often require multiple surgeries, sometimes followed by long-term medical care to prevent further complications. The medical costs of treating cleft palate can be an overwhelming financial burden for families already emotionally compromised by a birth defect diagnosis. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect side effect like cleft palate and you believe Topamax to be the cause, contact a Topamax attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Topamax lawsuit against Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical (Johnson & Johnson). Drug companies like Ortho-McNeil are responsible for the safety of their medications and should be held accountable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. By hiring a Topamax lawyer to represent your case, you can protect yourself from further harm and collect the compensation you deserve.

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