The Nature of the Drug: Topamax (toparimate) is an anticonvulsant manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The FDA approved Topamax in 1996 for treating epilepsy, and in 2004 the FDA approved the drug for treating migraine headaches.

The Hazards of Topamax: The chief concern with Topamax is that pregnant women are at increased risk of their child’s having a birth defect. The child is more likely to be born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, and the risk seems to be higher if the drug was taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Patients using Topamax have also experienced other serious side effects. Acute myopia and secondary-angle-closure glaucoma can occur, and can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. Hyperthermia, which is increased body temperature, is another side effect.

A few Topamax users have reported suicidal thoughts or have actually committed suicide. Warning labels indicate that patients on Topamax should be monitored for depression, increased anxiety, panic attacks, and other changes to mood or behavior. Topamax users are also at increased risk of experiencing difficulties with concentration or memory, as well as speech and language problems.
Fatigue, vomiting, and reduced mental alertness in Topamax users may be a result of a condition called hyperammonemia, which is an elevated level of ammonia in the blood. Some Topamax users have also experienced metabolic acidosis, a condition in which the body either produces too much acid or the kidneys cannot remove enough acid from the body. The condition can lead to brittle bones, kidney disease, slow growth in children, coma, or death.

To Obtain Legal Relief: Women who took Topamax while pregnant and have had a child with a birth defect, or people who have taken the drug and experienced other serious problems, may have valuable legal rights. Attorney Stephen A. Katz is available at (800) 251-3529 for a free consultation, or for legal representation.