Topamax Side Effects
Recent studies have shown an alarming link between women using Topamax and side effects that occur in a fetus. The most common defect happens during the early fetal development stage when the opening of the mouth or roof of the mouth is not completely formed, known as an oral cleft. This medication is also known as Topiramate. It is prescribed to millions of individuals each year. The numbers are quite staggering with an average of 32.3 million prescriptions being given out from January 2007 to December 2010. The adverse reactions to this medication are common with other widely prescribed medications that fall under the anticonvulsant or antiepileptic category. In fact, many of the side effects are common with other types of medications. However, it has not been until recently that this new finding of pregnant women taking Topamax and infants born with oral clefts or a cleft palate has been released.
This medication is dispensed to people who suffer from chronic migraines and to prevent and control seizures. It is also used to treat Essential Tremors. These are all health concerns that people want relief from, many not realizing the different reactions that may occur. Since these medical conditions can be life altering, many times people weighing the risk and benefits still choose to take Topamax, even with side effects.
Risks Associated With Topamax While Pregnant
When a woman is taking this medication to relieve seizures or migraines, it is imperative that they notify their doctor once they know they are pregnant. That is because the research is showing that the Topamax and oral clefts link happens during the first trimester of pregnancy. If a woman is taking this medication, once pregnant they may either be given an alternative medication or have to weigh the risk verses the benefits to continuing it. This medication is also believed to pass into breast milk, so breastfeeding should also be discussed with the physician.
How Topamax Works
Topamax works in different ways to help eliminate or control seizures. First, it helps calm and balance the nerve activity in the brain. This is important because the cause of fits or seizures can be due to rapidly increased nerve activity in the brain. Second, it stops sodium from entering into the nerve cells rapid fire sequence. This prevention reduces the unnecessary electrical activity in the brain that can cause seizures. Third, it prevents glutamate from exciting the nerves by blocking the receptors. All of these factors help keep the brains nerve activity in balance, and reduces the chance of seizures. Because of these benefits, many people continue taking Topamax even when side effects are possible.
When this medication is used to help those suffering from migraines, it is not totally clear how it works. It is prescribed as a daily medication for migraine sufferers. It is not meant to take once a migraine has begun, but as a preventative measure. Statistically, women suffer from migraines more frequently than men. This is why it is important if a woman gets pregnant while on this medication, she understands the link between Topamax and oral clefts in newborns.
Birth Defects And Legal Action
If a woman was taking Topamax and these side effects were present when the infant was born, there may be recourse for them. Many have chosen to contact a drug injury attorney to discuss any options they may have. Many initial consultations are free, and each case is reviewed individually.