According to British researchers, the use of Topiramate, an anti-epilepsy drug, increases the chances of pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects by up to 14-fold-especially when the drug is taken along with the drug Valproate. The study involved 203 women that became pregnant while taking Topiramate (Topamax is the brand name sold by Johnson & Johnson) alone or with other epilepsy medication.
Findings from the study included:
• 18 spontaneous abortions
• 5 induced abortions
• 2 stillbirths
• 178 births
• 16 infants were born with major birth defects
• 4 infants were born with cleft lips or palates
• 4 babies had genital birth defects
However, because the study involved only 203 women, experts have said that there is still statistical uncertainty related to this new data.
Topiramate has caused similar birth defects in animals. The fact that studies of other epilepsy drugs have revealed an increase in birth defect risks indicates that all of these drugs may affect the reproductive process.
Of the approximately 2.7 million Americans with epilepsy, Topamax makes up 1 out of every 5 prescriptions. Doctors say that even though there are risks involved with taking anti-epilepsy drugs, preventing epileptic seizures that would otherwise harm unborn babies-perhaps even more severely than the side effects that use of the drug can cause-is essential.
If you or someone you love was injured because of a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, you may be entitled to personal injury or wrongful death compensation. Drug manufacturers are supposed to test their medications before making them available to users and warn of any adverse side effects.
Our South Florida drug litigation law firm can determine whether you have grounds for a claim. If a drug maker or seller knowingly concealed risks, failed to conduct the proper and full product tests, or neglect to warn doctors and consumers of potential dangers, we know how to investigate any of these factors and prove your case.
Epilepsy drug Topamax linked to birth defects, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2008
Study links epilepsy drug to increased birth-defect risk, USA Today, July 21, 2008
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