The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the public of new data that show that there is an increased risk for the development of cleft lip and/or cleft palate (oral clefts) in infants born to women treated with Topamax (topiramate) during pregnancy.
|Facts about Topiramate|
The benefits and the risks of topiramate should be carefully weighed when prescribing this drug to women of childbearing age, particularly for conditions not usually associated with permanent injury or death. Alternative medications that have a lower risk of oral clefts and other adverse birth outcomes should be considered for these patients. If the decision is made to use topiramate in women of childbearing age, effective birth control should be used. Oral clefts occur in the first trimester of pregnancy before many women know they are pregnant.
Topiramate was previously classified as a Pregnancy Category C drug, which means that data from animal studies suggested potential fetal risks, but no adequate data from human clinical trials or studies were available at the time of approval. However, because of new human data that show an increased risk for oral clefts, topiramate is being placed in Pregnancy Category D. Pregnancy Category D means there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on human data but the potential benefits from use of the drug in pregnant women may be acceptable in certain situations despite its risks.
Additional Topamax (topiramate) Information for Patients
Additional Information on Topamax (topiramate) for Healthcare Professionals
Data Summary on Topamax (topiramate)
Data from the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry indicate an increased risk of oral clefts in infants exposed to topiramate monotherapy during the first trimester of pregnancy. The prevalence of oral clefts was 1.4% compared to a prevalence of 0.38% – 0.55% in infants exposed to other antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), and a prevalence of 0.07 % in infants of mothers without epilepsy or treatment with other AEDs. The relative risk of oral clefts in topiramate-exposed pregnancies in the NAAED Pregnancy Registry was 21.3 as compared to the risk in a background population of untreated women (95% Confidence Interval:7.9 – 57.1). The UK Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register reported a similarly increased prevalence of oral clefts (3.2 %) among infants exposed to topiramate monotherapy, a 16-fold increase in risk compared to the risk in their background population (0.2%).
The benefits and the risks of topiramate should be carefully weighed when prescribing this drug for women of childbearing age, particularly when topiramate is considered for a condition not usually associated with permanent injury or death. Appropriate alternative treatment should be considered. Inform women of childbearing age of the increased risk for having a baby with an oral cleft if they become pregnant while using topiramate.
Cleft lip and cleft palate range from a small notch in the lip to a groove that runs into the roof of the mouth and nose, possibly leading to problems with eating, talking and ear infections. Surgery is often used to close the lip and palate. With treatment, most children with cleft lip or palate do well.3
If you took Topamax (topiramate) or any other anti-seizure drug during pregnancy and your child was born with a cleft palate, cleft lip or any other congenital cranio-facial birth defect, we encourage you to contact a Topamax Litigation Attorney at our law firm immediately. It may be too late to recover from all of the devastating effects of Topamax but an experienced products liability pharmaceutical lawsuit lawyer at the Willis Law Firm can assist you in legal action against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical LLC, the makers of Topamax. You are not alone. Join other birth defect victims and their families in speaking up and fighting for your legal rights.
Please fill out our free online legal evaluation form and we will contact you within 24 hours. Please keep in mind that certain states have statutes of limitation that limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit or seek legal action. Contact our law firm immediately so that we may explain the rights and options available to you and your family.