A Pennsylvania jury awarded $3 million in damages last week to the family of a five-year-old who was born with birth defects after being exposed to Topamax during pregnancy. The Topamax birth defect lawsuit was filed by the parents of Payton Anderson, who was born with a cleft lip after the mother took Topamax while pregnant to relieve her chronic migraine headaches, and is the third multi-million dollar Topamax verdict brought against Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the past six months. If your child was born with cleft lip or another birth defect and you believe a potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drug like Topamax to be the cause, contact a qualified birth defect attorney today for legal help. You may have grounds to file a drug injury lawsuit against the manufacturing company, in order to pursue financial compensation for your child’s injuries and medical bills.
Topamax (topiramate) is a popular anticonvulsant medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 and commonly prescribed as a treatment for epilepsy and migraine headaches. However, serious concerns were raised about the safety of Topamax use in pregnancy when research began to uncover a link between the anticonvulsant drug and serious birth defects like cleft lip, cleft palate and a genital malformation among boys called hypospadias. In 2008, the journal Neurology published a study in which researchers identified a fourteen-times increased risk of genital birth defects, and an eleven-times increased risk of oral cleft birth defects, among infants exposed to Topamax in pregnancy.
In March 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the risk of oral cleft birth defects among babies exposed to Topamax in utero, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, and also advised doctors to avoid prescribing Topamax to pregnant women or women of childbearing age to avoid this birth defect risk. At the same time, the FDA elevated the Pregnancy Category of Topamax from C to D, which is the second highest drug warning for pregnant women. According to the FDA, Category D means that there is evidence that the drug can interfere with fetal development and cause congenital malformations like cleft lip.
According to the Anderson family’s complaint, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, failed to adequately warn consumers and medical professionals about the connection between Topamax use in pregnancy and birth defects in babies. The drug company currently faces more than 130 similar lawsuits filed on behalf of families throughout the country who have been adversely affected by alleged Topamax birth defects. If you took Topamax while pregnant and your child was born with cleft lip, cleft palate or another serious malformation, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by dangerous drugs, and can help put you in touch with a qualified birth defect attorney today.