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Prior Topamax Lawsuits Favor Plaintiffs, New Trials About to Start

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Philadelphia, PAThe two most recent lawsuits in the Topamax side effects portfolio, lawsuits that actually constitute the first two lobs into the Topamax MDL multidistrict litigation, may speak to the direction subsequent Topamax and pregnancy lawsuits could take going forward: both lawsuits found for the plaintiffs. And while the defendants announced plans to appeal both verdicts, pundits look at a scoreboard showing 2:0 for the plaintiffs as a telling sign.

The other issue when it comes to Topamax birth defects stems from the primary indications for Topamax topiramate: one is for the management and treatment of seizures and other epileptic events, while the other is for the easing of symptoms associated with migraine headaches. The former affects only a small cross section of the population, whereas the latter impacts a much larger sector.

In either case, Topamax side effects can be devastating for a family following the birth of a child who presents with birth defects including, but not limited to, cleft lip and cleft palate. While these defects can be corrected with surgery, such intervention can be costly in both financial outlay, and the emotional well-being of both the child and parent.

The larger of the two recent cases is Gurley v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceutical, Case No.110502251, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, and part of the master case In re Topamax Litigation, 110602131, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County.

In the aforementioned action, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $11 million. According to Bloomberg News (11/18/13), stay-at-home mom Haley Powell had taken Topamax in tandem with another anti-seizure medication. Her son Brayden Gurley was born with Topamax birth defects that will require a total of six surgeries before he turns 21 to repair various defects that include nasal deformities. The boy, now five, underwent his first surgery at just three months. Court heard that Powell had become pregnant with Brayden in October 2007, more than a year after she began taking Topamax.

The lawsuit accused the manufacturer of Topamax, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a division of Johnson & Johnson), of failure to warn. Attorneys for the plaintiffs noted that animal studies revealed the potential for topiramate side effects in newborns prior to Topamax receiving FDA approval in 1996.

The other Topamax lawsuit that concluded within a month of the Powell case was that of April Czimmer, a Virginia mother who took Topamax for seven months beginning in August 2006. Her son Blake Czimmer was born in September 2007, with Topamax birth defects requiring four surgeries since birth to correct.

The primary difference between the two cases beyond a smaller jury award at $4.02 million is the fact that Czimmer used Topamax to ease the symptoms associated with migraine headaches - an indication much more prevalent in today’s high-stress society that sees most Americans on the bubble practically 24/7.

Bloomberg reports that additional trials are scheduled for next month, as well as March. Based on the first two Topamax topiramate trials finding for the plaintiffs, all eyes will be on subsequent trials to gauge the potential for a continuing trend…


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