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Topamax (topiramate) is an anticonvulsant drug used to treat epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in children, migraines, and "off label" for a variety of additional conditions, including bipolar disorder. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a disorder that causes seizures and developmental delay.
Topomax is made by Noramco, Inc. and Ortho-McNeil Neurologics , both divisions of Johnson & Johnson . Generic versions were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2006.
While topiramate has a complex mode of action, its effectiveness was shown in a controlled trial in patients with epilepsy who had no more than two seizures in the three months prior to enrollment. A post marketing surveillance trial, however, suggested that cognitive side effects may be more common than with lamotrigine, another anticonvulsant drug. And studies of healthy volunteers revealed more cognitive side effects, such as short term memory loss and word-finding difficulty, with therapeutic doses of topiramate than with lamotigine.
The FDA then issued a warning to prescribers, notifying them that topiramate can cause acute myopia and secondary angle closure glaucoma in a few patients who take topiramate regularly. The symptoms, which include blurred vision and eye pain, typically begin in the first month of use, and discontinuation of topiramate could halt the progression of the ocular damage, and even reverse the visual impairment.
As with several other anti-epileptic drugs, topiramate also carries an increased risk of congenital malformations and a statistically significant increase in suicidality.
There are other potentially serious side effects associated with the use of Topamax. The most relatively common additional side effects, however, include:
- numbness and tingling
- upper respiratory tract infection
- loss of appetite
If you or a loved one is suffering from side effects associated with the use of Topamax or a generic version of topiramate, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a qualified pharmaceutical injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.