Parents awarded $3 million in lawsuit over son’s birth defects from use of Topamax while pregnant

by Jim Orr

A Philadelphia has awarded $3 million in damages to a couple whose son was born with severe birth defects caused by exposure to the anti-migraine drug Topamax during pregnancy. The lawsuit filed by Kelly and Brian Anderson against Janssen Pharmaceuticals alleged that Kelly’s use of Topamax during the first trimester of pregnancy caused their son, Peyton, to be born with substantial birth defects that have already required him to undergo 14 surgical procedures.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration forced Janssen to issue a warning about the link between Topamax and an increased risk of birth defects. The agency also moved Topamax to its Pregnancy Category D, a class of drugs with a proven risk of causing birth defects when they are taken during pregnancy.

In their lawsuit against Janssen, the Andersons alleged that the company had numerous warning signs before 2011 of a link between Topamax and birth defects. The lawsuit also alleged that Janssen failed to properly warn doctors about the danger of side effects for women who used Topamax while pregnant.

Jurors in the case agreed with the Andersons’ allegations that Topamax played a substantial role in the birth defects experienced by their son. They awarded the couple $1.5 million in non-economic damages against Janssen, as well as an additional $1.5 million for the future medical treatment of their son.

Our Law Firm and Pharmaceutical Birth Defects Cases

The birth of a child with congenital birth defects is a nightmare that no parent wants to experience. Birth defects such as a cleft lip or cleft palate, neural tube defects such as spina bifida, and congenital heart defects can have a significant impact on a child’s quality of life.

Sadly, in many cases congenital birth defects are caused by drugs that a mother was prescribed by their doctor during pregnancy. The use of some FDA-approved prescription drugs has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects, sometimes regardless of when these drugs were taken during pregnancy.

Medications that have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy include:

  • Accutane
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants, including Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft
  • Depakote and Depakene (valproic acid)
  • Topamax (valproate)

The FDA has issued numerous warnings about the danger of taking certain prescription drugs while pregnant. However, in many cases, the manufacturers of these drugs knew or should have known years before FDA warnings about the danger of birth defects associated with the medications they manufactured.

If you or a loved one have given birth to a child with birth defects that you suspect were caused by the use of a medication prescribed to you by a doctor, you have legal rights. For a free consultation from an attorney to find out your legal options, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 or by following the link to our free contact form.