A Philadelphia jury has awarded more than $4 million in damages to the mother of a six-year-old boy who allegedly developed cleft lip and other birth defects after being exposed to the anticonvulsant drug Topamax during pregnancy. The Topamax birth defect lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by April Czimmer, who took Topamax for six months before giving birth to her son, Blake, in 2007. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before ruling in favor of Czimmer, who claimed that her son suffered serious birth injuries requiring four surgeries. If your child was born with a birth defect like cleft lip or cleft palate, and you believe Topamax to be the cause, consult our lawyers at Bandas Law Firm to discuss the possibility of filing a claim against Johnson & Johnson.
BIRTH DEFECTS LINKED TO TOPAMAX
Topamax (topiramate) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 as a treatment for epilepsy and migraine headaches, and quickly became one of Johnson & Johnson’s best-selling medications before losing its patent protection in 2009. In her lawsuit, Czimmer said that she took the anticonvulsant medication from August 2006 through February 2007 to treat migraines. When her son Blake was born in September 2007, he was diagnosed with a cleft lip and cleft palate – two birth defects that have been tied to the anticonvulsant Topamax in mounting research.
In March 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the risk of oral cleft birth defects among babies exposed to Topamax in pregnancy, urging doctors to avoid prescribing Topamax to pregnant women and women of childbearing age. In that same warning, the FDA elevated the pregnancy category of Topamax from C to D, which means there is positive human evidence suggesting that Topamax use in pregnancy may interfere with fetal development and cause serious birth defects like cleft lip or cleft palate.
J&J ACCUSED OF FAILURE TO WARN
According to the court ruling, Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary failed to warn consumers and the medical community about the risk of birth defects associated with its Topamax epilepsy drug. The jury also found that the drug companies’ negligence was a substantial factor in causing Blake’s cleft lip and cleft palate birth defects, awarding the boy’s family $562,184 in future health costs and $3,440,000 for pain and suffering. Just a few days after Czimmer’s case was decided, another Topamax trial began, involving a claim brought by the parents of a five-year-old boy who was born with cleft lip after being exposed to the epilepsy drug in utero.
CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS TODAY
Czimmer’s case is the first of roughly 134 Topamax lawsuits currently pending against Johnson & Johnson, and many more birth defect cases are being investigated by Topamax attorneys nationwide. All of the complaints involve similar allegations that the drug company failed to adequately research the anticonvulsant medication or provide consumers and the medical community with adequate warnings about the risk of Topamax birth defects. If you took a potentially dangerous drug like Topamax while pregnant, and your child was born with cleft lip, cleft palate or another major birth defect, contact our product liability attorneys at Bandas Law Firm today. With our law firm on your side, you can protect your legal rights and pursue the financial compensation your child deserves.