DILANTIN AND TOPAMAX INJURY ATTORNEYS
Dilantin is manufactured by Pfizer and received FDA approval in 2001. Since then, it has been added to the FDA’s Potential Signals of Serious Risks List and has been associated with serious conditions including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Purple Glove Syndrome.
Dilantin, also know as phenytoin, is an antiepileptic drug, or anticonvulsant, prescribed to control certain types of seizures including grand mal seizures and temporal lobe seizures. Grand mal seizures feature a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions while those suffering from temporal lobe seizures experience odd feelings such as euphoria, fear, déjà vu, and hallucinations.
STEVENS-JOHNSON SYNDROME AND DILANTIN
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, also known as SJS, is a serious, life-threatening disorder in which your skin and mucous membranes react severely to a medication or infections. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome often begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters, eventually causing the top layer of your skin to die and shed.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is an emergency medical condition that typically results in hospitalization. In addition, if it is caused by a drug, such as Dilantin, patients are required to permanently discontinue the medication and all others related to it.
Some serious side effects of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome include:
- Facial swelling
- Tongue swelling
- Skin pain
- A red or purple skin rash that spreads within hours to days
- Blisters on your skin and mucous membranes, especially in your mouth, nose and eyes
- Shedding (sloughing) of your skin
If you or a loved one have experienced any of these extreme side effects, seek medical attention immediately.
Possible complications of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome include:
- Secondary skin infection (cellulitis) – This acute infection of your skin can lead to life-threatening complications, including meningitis — an infection of the membrane and fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord — and sepsis.
- Sepsis – Sepsis occurs when bacteria from a massive infection enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. Sepsis is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
- Eye problems – The rash caused by Stevens-Johnson syndrome can lead to inflammation in your eyes. In mild cases, this may cause irritation and dry eyes. In severe cases, it can lead to extensive tissue damage and scarring within your eyes that can result in blindness.
- Damage to internal organs – Stevens-Johnson syndrome can cause lesions of your internal organs, which can result in inflammation of your lungs (pneumonitis), heart (myocarditis), kidney (nephritis) and liver (hepatitis).
Permanent skin damage – When your skin grows back following Stevens-Johnson syndrome, it may have abnormal bumps and coloring (pigmentation). Scars may remain on your skin, as well. Lasting skin problems may cause your hair to fall out, and your fingernails and toenails may not grow normally.
TOPAMAX AND CLEFT LIPS AND CLEFT PALATES
Since 1995, Topamax, manufactured by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has been available worldwide for the treatment of epilepsy. The drug was also granted approval by the FDA to prevent migraines in August of 2004 and its generic form was approved by the FDA in April of 2009. More than 4 million patients have been treated with Topamax for migraines and epilepsy.
On March 4, 2011, the FDA strengthened the warning for patients using Topamax and it’s generic. Studies show that Topamax significantly increases oral birth defects, including cleft lip, and/or cleft palate in children whose mothers took Topamax during their pregnancy. In fact, this new data shows that expecting mothers who take the drug are 21.3 times more likely to give birth to infants with an oral birth defect such as cleft lips or palates compared to the risk in a background population of untreated women.
The FDA has sent out a notice to medical providers to warn their female patients about the risks of taking Topamax and to discuss alternative medications that have a lower risk of birth defects. Many developmental issues may occur in infants born with cleft palates or lips because they are not able to get adequate nutrition.