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Topamax Birth Defect Lawsuit Results In $3 Million Award For Family

Pregnant womanThe family of a five-year-old born with birth defects after being exposed to Topamax in pregnancy has been awarded $3 million in damages, in the third Topamax lawsuit to result in a multi-million dollar verdict in the past six months alone. The ruling was handed down last week in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in a birth defect lawsuit filed by the parents of Payton Anderson, who was born with an oral cleft birth defect after the mother took Topamax to treat her migraine headaches while pregnant. The complaint was brought against Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary, and alleged that the drug firm failed to provide consumers with adequate warnings about the connection between Topamax use in pregnancy and the risk of serious birth defects.


The Anderson lawsuit represents the third Topamax trial to go before a jury in Philadelphia, with combined verdicts of $17 million awarded to three affected families. Reports indicate that Janssen Pharmaceuticals currently faces more than 130 similar product liability lawsuits filed throughout the country over birth defects allegedly linked to Topamax, a popular anticonvulsant drug commonly used to treat epilepsy and migraine headaches in the United States. Topamax was approved by the FDA in 1997, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the FDA issued a warning to consumers and the medical community about the risk of cleft lip and cleft palate birth defects among babies whose mothers took Topamax during the first trimester of pregnancy.


Cleft lip and cleft palate are oral birth defects characterized by the failure of parts of the lip or palate to completely fuse together during fetal development. In addition to causing facial deformities ranging from a notch in the lip to an open groove extending from the roof of the mouth to the nose, oral clefts can also cause problems with eating and talking, and can increase the risk of ear infections in affected children, sometimes resulting in the need for corrective surgery. In light of this serious birth defect risk, the FDA has advised doctors to avoid prescribing Topamax to pregnant women or women of childbearing age, especially for the treatment of non-life-threatening migraine headaches.


In October 2013, a jury awarded $4 million to the family of a child born with numerous birth defects after being exposed to Topamax in pregnancy, and the following month, $11 million in damages was awarded to the family of a child born with cleft lip and other deformities that will likely require several surgeries to repair. If you took Topamax while pregnant and your child was born with cleft lip, cleft palate, or another serious birth defect, contact our birth defect lawyers at Bandas Law Firm today. Our Topamax attorneys have years of experience protecting the rights of consumers harmed by potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, and can help you and your family pursue the compensation you deserve.