As a lawyer representing, in Topamax Lawsuits, children who have a cleft lip or a cleft palate from exposure to this drug, I am often asked the question, “Should I stop taking Topamax while pregnant?”
It is not an easy question to answer. Why? It is not easy to provide an answer because it’s a medical question. The answer needs to be determined in consultation with your doctor. There are various reasons that doctors prescribe Topamax and the risks to benefits ratio must be weighed by you and your doctor.
Why has your doctor prescribed Topamax? Topamax was originally approved by the Food & Drug Administration as an anti seizure drug. It’s prescribed off label to prevent migraines and now in conjunction with other drugs, for weight loss.
Is some cases, there are alternatives for safer anti-seizure drugs, safer migraine prevention drugs, and much safer solutions for women who want to lose weight. Cleft lip and cleft palate birth defects have proven to be heinous, disfiguring, and sometimes life-altering side effects of Topamax. Women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or women in their childbearing years who have not even thought about being pregnant yet must ask their doctors about safer alternatives affecting their newborns.
Ask your doctor what are the benefits of taking Topamax and how do they outweigh the risks?
The anti-seizure medication Topamax has recently come under the FDA microscope for having an increased risk of cleft palate and cleft lip in newborns whose mothers took the drug during their first trimester. Shockingly, there appears to be a 6 to 8 percent chance of birth defects in infants born to women taking anticonvulsant medications. This risk is two or three times greater than the general population taking anti-seizure medications and fifteen or twenty times greater than people not on any medication.
According to the Cleft Palate Foundation, one out of every 594 newborns or 6,800 children per year is affected by oral birth defects such as cleft palate or cleft lip or a combination of the two.
Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor. These are just some facts that you should have on hand when discussing this important decision with your healthcare professional.