Posts Tagged ‘birth defects’

SSRIs Linked Autism: Report

Friday, December 9th, 2011


Several studies have been conducted to determine the cause of autism in children which has remained unknown.Heredity, cited around 90 percent of the time, and childhood immunizations, were believed to be the causes of autism. Despite several clinical studies, no scientific evidence associating Immunization and autism was shown.

Recently, Anne Harding’s article published in the Cable News Network website, reported on several studies linking autism with antidepressant drugs. Children whose mothers are under antidepressant medication like Zoloft during pregnancy are twice as likely as other children to be diagnosed with autism or other related disorder, it say In other current news reports, another Pfizer antidepressant drug has been blamed for causing the death of an infant.

What is not safe during pregnancy is the intake of an antidepressant like the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which Zoloft belongs. Harding said that children who were exposed to the drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy were nearly four times likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than with unexposed children, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Major depressive illness, anxiety disorders, the depressed phase of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression are the mental illness for which SSRI, a class of antidepressant drugs, is used as a treatment.

The experts on prenatal drug exposure and mental health said that the findings will need to be confirmed in larger studies which women who are starting or continuing SSRIs use will not be discouraged, Hardings wrote.

On the other hand, there are two reasons presented by Lisa Croen, Ph. D, the director of autism research at Kaiser Permanente North California, who said there is a need for an investigation First, the number of autistic is increasing over the past several decades. Second, basing on the previous studies, it suggest that people with autism have abnormalities in their level and regulation of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in mood and many other biological processes.

Though, there is still no medical evidence made available associating SSRIs with Autism. Unless a credible evidence being established, the chances of any Zoloft Lawsuit may not prosper.

The Worse Of All Reported Topamax Side Effects Is Birth Defects

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

As a mother, whether a first-timer or not, would you make a choice that would be beneficial to your health but would put your baby at risk of birth defects or would you choose otherwise by putting your baby’s welfare before yours? The catch is what if by making your baby’s health a priority; you are still putting both of you in danger by leaving your condition untreated? An epileptic mother undergoing the Topamax treatment is faced with such predicament. Despite being confronted with this serious side effect, it is a wonder how Topamax is sometimes prescribed for Bipolar Disorder when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved it for such use.


Manufactured by Ortho-McNeil, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Topamax is an anticonvulsant with Topiramate as its active ingredient. It was approved by the FDA for the treatment of epileptic seizures in 1996 and indicated for the prevention of certain types of migraine headaches in 2004. Studies on Topamax’s efficacy on other conditions such as psychiatric disorders and even weight loss were conducted despite these.


While all medications have side effects, both serious and minor, Topamax side effects were thrust into the public with the FDA announcing that a new data from the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry showed that pregnant women taking Topamax are putting their unborn infants in an increased risk for cleft lip or palate. Among all of Topamax’s side effects, the discovery of birth defects being linked to the drug has become the most serious yet so far. Studies with the same results were published in the United Kingdom since 2008, making the data not the first to link the anticonvulsant to serious birth defects. Those studies prompted US researchers to conduct the same investigation.


The FDA was prompted by the seriousness of these birth defects to urge healthcare professionals to discuss with their patients of childbearing age alternative treatments and even effective birth control methods. Other considered serious Topamax side effects are:


  • Lowered bicarbonate levels in the blood resulting in an increase in the acidity of the blood (metabolic acidosis)
  • Serious eye problems which could lead to blindness
  • Symptoms of kidney stones



Common side effects usually experienced during initial Topamax treatment and considered less serious are:


  • Paresthesia or numbness and tingling of extremities
  • Fatigue
  • Taste change
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty with concentration/attention and difficulty with memory
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea


Patients are advised to immediately report the persistence or worsening of these side effects, whether considered serious or not, for immediate intervention and so as not to worsen their condition.


Side Effects Dim Topamax Benefits

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Topamax, manufactured by Ortho-McNeil, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is one of the most prescribed anticonvulsant for the treatment of epileptic seizures and prevention of certain types of migraine headaches despite a number of side effects associated with it. With birth defects, the most serious Topamax side effect to date, discovery of side effects linked to it has not stopped. Said to affect mostly children and more likely to happen under hot weather conditions or during vigorous exercise, the newest Topamax side effect is Oligohidrosis.


Patients are told to expect tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, tingling of the hands/feet, loss of appetite, bad taste in the mouth, diarrhea and weight loss, which are the commonly occurring side effects at the initial use of Topamax. Confusion, slowed thinking, trouble concentrating or paying attention, nervousness, memory problems, or speech/language problems are mental problems which may also occur.Although considered as not serious, patients are advised to inform their doctors if any of these side effects persist or worsen. Signs of kidney stones such as severe back/side/abdominal/groin pain, fever, chills, painful/frequent urination, and bloody/pink urine; is a serious side effect that patients are told to watch out for.


Also in rare cases, topiramate, the active ingredient in Topamax, may cause a very serious eye problem, generally within one month of starting treatment. Characterized by sudden vision changes such as decreased or blurred vision, pain and redness, this eye problem if untreated could lead to permanent blindness.


Patients should also tell their doctor or pharmacist if they are allergic to Topamax or any other allergies before taking the drug. Inactive ingredients contained in this product can cause allergic reactions or other problems. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy as it may harm an unborn baby. Before breast-feeding, patients are advised to consult their doctor as this medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant.


A patient’s risk for serious Topamax side effects could be increased by drug interactions as well as how a medication works. To change the dosage of any medicine without doctor’s approval is not advised nor should the patient not start or stop medication.