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"Off Label Use"

November 21, 2009

Recently, I stumbled on a website with over 700 complaints submitted about the drug Topamax also known as Topiramate in its generic form (click here). It is one of many sites with such complaints from the public. Topamax is a migraine medicine its manufacturer marketed for what is known as "off label" use, which is prohibited under U.S. law.

Currently, another troublesome drug with bad side effects, in the same class as Topamax, named Neurontin (Gabapentin), has been sued by the government for breaking the law, in pushing their product for "off label" use to maximize profits.

"Off label" use means a pharmaceutical drug that is created to target one medical issue/affliction/disease, being promoted and prescribed for other medical problems/diseases.

Topamax is an anti-convulsant, used to treat migraine headaches. However, to make a fortune in sales, its manufacturer started a big promotional push to foist it on the public as a mood stabilizer, pain reliever (nerve pain), weight loss drug and epilepsy/seizure anti-convulsant.

People have flooded numerous websites complaining about Topamax and how it horribly impacted their lives. People reported a terrible combination of side effects such as deep depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, shaking, bone depletion leading to bone breakage, hair loss, kidney stones, memory loss, changes in bowel movement, blurred vision, vision loss, glaucoma, anorexia, inability to find words on a page, slurred speech, speech loss, psychosis, dizziness, uncomfortable and sometimes painful tingling in the hands and feet, insomnia and extreme fatigue. ALL THAT TO STOP A HEADACHE!

Topamax is a terrible drug that has ruined many lives. Many people that were on it, even for a short period of time, experienced terrible side effects. Some people lost their marriages, friendships and jobs, as they could not function anymore, due to what the drug did to them. Some were even admitted to psychiatric wards, as the drug did that much harm to their brains.

Amazingly, once again, to maximize profits, the manufacturers are marketing Topamax and Topiramate as anti-depressants, when it resulted in a number of suicides. That is an oxymoron.

Topamax caused suicides in some, as it so altered the brain chemistry of some people that took the medication, they became extremely depressed, very agitated and committed suicide, seeking to escape that unexplainable fog that enveloped their minds and terrible anxiety that afflicted them while taking it, leaving them feeling completely hopeless and devoid of basic reasoning. Do not take your life. Things will get better, but you need to be weaned off the pharmaceutical drug creating the terrible changes. 

Topamax has many lawsuits against it in court for the aforementioned terrible side effects. My question is, after all the thousands of horrible reports on the drug, why is it and its generic component, Topiramate, still on the market, damaging the public's health, under the guise of alleviating (not curing) migraines. Clearly, these side effects are not rare, as way too many people have them.

Why are doctors still being given financial incentives to write prescriptions for this terrible drug, with so many serious complaints against it.

What's even more perplexing is Topamax being prescribed in tandem with other drugs in its class such as Neurontin (Gabapentin), forming a powerful, terrible cocktail, wreaking havoc on people's health. 

Another issue of concern is, no proper instructions have been issued on reversing the terrible side effects of these drugs, leaving patients to suffer, with the only manufacturer warning being, see your physician.

However, some doctors, not all, seeking to dodge culpability in prescribing them, are not taking responsibility for their patients' deteriorating physical problems that resemble a neurological disorder, stemming from the pharmaceutical drugs, nor are they providing adequate care in addressing the awful side effects, as that would mean admitting something has gone wrong.

They will make excuses claiming the side effects are very rare or they've never heard of such a thing, when there are thousands of complaints and lawsuits concerning the serious damage the aforementioned pharmaceutical drugs have done to many. Nice way to honor the Hippocratic Oath (not!).  

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