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Topamax Side Effects: From the Extreme to the Sublime

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Washington, DCThe realities that stem from Topamax side effects run the gamut from potential suicide, to affecting the way your soda tastes in your mouth. The former is serious, while the latter seems almost trivial. However, it serves to illustrate just how much a medication such as Topamax can affect an individual's lifestyle.

A young person likes her soda—in this case, Dr. Pepper. However, when the Topamax patient, who is prescribed 25mg of Topamax twice each day, consumes her favorite soda, the result is a collection of reactions that can best be described by watching the video.

Yes, it's only soda. But Topamax side effects can affect patients in different ways.

To the other extreme, witness the alert issued in 2009 from the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) video news service with regard to antiepileptic drugs and suicidality. The warning came from an FDA analysis of placebo-controlled clinical studies of 11 drugs used to treat epilepsy, psychiatric disorders and other conditions.

In the analysis, the risk was approximately doubled in patients receiving the antiepileptic drugs compared with those participants receiving a placebo—0.43 percent vs. 0.22 percent. Topamax was one of the drugs studied and is clearly seen in the video.

Add to that the marketing missteps on the part of Ortho-McNeil and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen (units of Johnson & Johnson) with regard to Topamax topiramate, and you get a troubling picture. While doctors have the power and authority to prescribe drugs off-label, manufacturers are not allowed to promote drugs for uses not approved by the FDA.

This is the one-year anniversary of the agreement by Ortho-McNeil and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen to settle criminal and civil charges brought by the Department of Justice relating to the accusations of unauthorized marketing. Ortho-McNeil agreed to pay $6.1 million, while Ortho-McNeil-Janssen was left with the lion's share of $75.4 million.

Topamax and pregnancy is also an issue, given the potential for Topamax birth defects and Topamax side effects in children.


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