The recall of Topamax, the drug, originally manufactured by Ortho-McNeil, that reduces seizures in epileptic children and migraine symptoms in adults (as recounted on the FDA website), prompted a study by several groups, including the FDA, regarding the damaging Topamax side effects.
What they discovered was quite alarming, and bore home the axiom that the cure is often more damaging than the disease.
As reported in Wikipedia, a comprehensive list (which is beyond the scope of this article to include; the reader is referred to the aforementioned sources) was compiled by GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals, the parent company of the firm that created the drug in the first place.
The study pulls no punches, despite its interest in doing so, since GlaxoSmithKline might be held to some degree liable for damaging or harmful substances created under its own aegis.
Known Topamax Side Effects
The study found , in a clinical study of several hundred patients, that the most alarming of the Topamax side effects included paresthesia (numbness and a tingling sensation in the extremities, especially damaging to epileptic children), upper respiratory tract infections, stomach disorders (which included nausea and diarrhea).
The first side effect is the most problematic, since the drug is supposedly designed to reduce the sensations of seizures and migraines, which include numbness and tingling. Instead, it apparently increases the risk of incidence. The effect is as if one had joint pain, and one was prescribed a medication that induced joint pain.
Other unpleasant and deleterious Topamax side effects included (although not as prevalent as the first group) a tendency toward extreme appetite loss, such as might induce a condition of anorexia; memory problems and fatigue, and a slowing of the psychomotor function (which in itself might not be especially worrying to a child with epilepsy, but for adults with other symptoms could prove extremely harmful). Confusion and somnolence rounded out the list of unfortunate symptoms this medication caused.
The study was a Phase IV, which means it was done “after the fact,” the drug having already been marketed, successfully sold and distributed to possibly thousands of patients and sufferers. The lack of testing of the drug beforehand could only be called negligent, perhaps, according to the FDA, criminally so.
The FDA has further warned that users of Topamax (aka Topiramate) may find instances where the drug induces myopia and glaucoma. With pregnant women (given to migraines, the very condition that the drug is supposed to relieve), large doses of the drug may induce difficult births and the possibility of congenital birth defects. As might be expected, the drug has also caused (admittedly slight) spikes in patient suicide, although assigning the fault of this eventuality to the drug as a conclusion is far from certain.
If you have issues or concerns about Topamax, consult your health professional; you can also consult http://www.abalawinfo.org/ for legal assistance.