Topamax

August 1st, 2011

New Brunswick, NJ: While increasing competition and the stagnant economy certainly played a role, continued fallout from the discovery of Topamax side effects likely also contributed to the decline in sales experienced by Johnson & Johnson during the second quarter of 2011.

According to Reuters, global sales of the company’s drugs rose significantly during the first quarter, encouraging the pharmaceutical firm that it was moving on from its recent history of recalls and side effects for drugs such as Risperdal and Topamax.

Topamax (topiramate) is typically used by itself or with other medications as a means of treating specific types of seizures endured by people suffering from epilepsy, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

However, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, studies have indicated that Topamax poses a number of potential risks when taken during pregnancy, particularly an increased risk for birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate.

According to the FDA’s Web site, the federal agency notified healthcare professionals last March about the increased birth defects risks, and placed the seizure medication in Pregnancy Category D, meaning there is evidence linking the drug to potential birth defects risks, but the medication’s benefits may still make it useful for pregnant women in certain situations.

Still, the agency said that it was important for pregnant women to consult their doctor prior to taking Topamax.

“Before starting topiramate, pregnant women and women of childbearing potential should discuss other treatment options with their health care professional,” the FDA said on its Web site.

With the evidence of Topamax birth defects still lingering, Johnson & Johnson’s second quarter net income dropped 20 percent to $2.78 billion, down from $3.45 billion the year prior, according to Bloomberg.

In addition to Topamax side effects, Johnson & Johnson has been forced to issue a number of product recalls in recent months, including arterial stents and over-the-counter medications such as Motrin and Tylenol, which were recalled due to musty odors emanating from their bottles.

Additionally, the company has taken considerable heat over hip replacement products manufactured by its DePuy unit, which have been linked to serious side effects such as metal contamination in the blood of patients. The unit recalled the devices, but still faces a number of lawsuits relating to them.

[by Charles Benson – Lawyers & Settlements]

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