A cleft palate is a type of congenital birth defects caused by the failure of the tissue in the roof of the mouth to fuse together during the first trimester of pregnancy. About one in 700 children born in the United States each year suffer from a cleft palate.
Children who are born with a cleft palate also frequently suffer from a cleft lip as well. Collectively, these conditions are known as oral cleft defects.
In March 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that women who use the migraine and seizure drug Topamax during pregnancy are 21 times more likely to give birth to a child with a cleft palate or cleft lip. It is thought that Topamax affects the ability of the tissues of the palate to fuse during the first weeks of pregnancy.
Because the lip and palate fuse during the first trimester, many women may continue taking Topamax without even knowing they are pregnant. In addition to the risk of oral cleft defects, using Topamax while pregnant can also increase the risk of other congenital birth defects.
If you or a loved one used Topamax during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with a cleft palate, cleft lip or other side effects, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation, contact the lawyers at Hissey Kientz, LLP by calling our toll-free hotline at 1-866-275-4454, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located on this page.