Finding out that your child has a birth defect can be devastating enough, but learning that it could have been caused by a drug prescribed for your migraines adds a heartbreaking blow. Studies have found that the drug Topamax carries an increased risk for birth defects and other side effects, and many lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer for these injuries. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings about Topamax 15 years after approving the drug in 1996. Its medication guide now includes a warning about these side effects, but that may have been too late for many people who took the drug. At that point, a lot of damage had already been done.
If you were prescribed Topamax while pregnant -- or even before you knew you were pregnant -- your child may have been harmed as a result. But you don't have to feel powerless about it. Learn about the FDA's recent warnings, the kinds of compensation to which you may be entitled, and the first steps in pursuing your own Topamax lawsuit.
What Is Topamax?
Topamax, also known as Topiramate, is a prescription drug that was approved by the FDA to treat seizures, migraines, and weight loss, but it also has been prescribed by some doctors to help patients with alcoholism and depression. In addition to the personal injury and failure-to-warn lawsuits, the manufacturer has also been at the center of several federal investigations regarding Topamax.
FDA Warnings: Topamax Can Cause Birth Defects
In 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the drug because studies showed that mothers taking Topamax were much more likely to have a baby born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. These defects can lead to problems with eating, talking, hearing, and ear infections, and may require corrective surgery and other large medical expenses.
Other potential side effects include spina bifida, heart, lung, and neural defects, vision loss, and an increased risk of suicide. These are all serious consequences, and you may not have even realized that they were caused by something your doctor prescribed for you.
Do I Have a Case Against Topamax?
At the center of the Topamax lawsuits is the idea that the drug maker knew or should have known about the drug's risks but didn't communicate those risks to doctors and patients. There have been a number of different legal theories used in these lawsuits, but a common one is a strict products liability approach where the plaintiff argues that the failure to warn about Topamax's dangerous side effects makes Topamax a defective product. Other cases have been based on a negligence claim where the plaintiff must prove that the manufacturer owed the plaintiff a duty of care, and that the failure to warn about the side effects was both a breach of that duty and the cause of the plaintiff's injuries.
Each person's case is different, but people in these types of cases usually seek to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering caused by the drug's harmful side effects. Since Topamax came out in 1996 there have been many of these lawsuits against the manufacturer. In 2013, a jury awarded $11 million dollars to one family alone, and many other lawsuits have settled for millions of dollars as well.
An experienced attorney can help identify the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and advise you about whether you should move forward with a lawsuit. However, there are time limits to filing a case (known as "statutes of limitations"), so you should consult an attorney before you lose your right to sue the people responsible for your suffering.
Have You Been Harmed by Topamax? Receive a Free Case Review from an Experienced Attorney
Corrective surgery and other medical treatments are expensive. No one should have to bear all the costs of a birth defect or other harmful side effect caused by a drug company's product. If you or a loved one has suffered because of Topamax, you may be entitled to compensation from the drug manufacturer through a Topamax lawsuit. Receive a free case review from an experienced attorney familiar with personal injury and dangerous drug lawsuits.
The FDA's special website dedicated to drugs and medications resources