Did Depakote played a role in your child’s birth injury?
Depakote (valproic acid) is an FDA-approved drug prescribed for the treatment of seizure disorders, manic episodes that result from bipolar disorder, and migraine headaches. Unfortunately, new evidence shows there is a serious risk to a child’s health when Depakote is taken during pregnancy.
There is no doubt that Depakote can be helpful in providing a better quality of life to those suffering from seizures and bipolar disorder. The problem is that women who take Depakote while pregnant may have a substantially-increased risk of giving birth to children with major birth defects; something which is not always taken into consideration or relayed to the patient.
The decision whether to take an anticonvulsant such as Depakote (also sold as Depacon, Depakene, and Stayzor) during pregnancy should be made by your doctor after a careful consideration of the risks and benefits. Before making any kind of decision, the expectant mother needs to fully understand the risks and potential side effects.
Those who become pregnant while on Depakote need to speak with a doctor as soon as they suspect they are pregnant. The doctor may want to immediately discontinue use, but may need to gradually wean you off the drug. The manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, recommends that women who are pregnant (or are planning to become pregnant) use other drugs whenever possible, especially those patients who use Depakote for treatment of migraines.
Birth defects & side effects of Depakote.
Even though Depakote is frequently prescribed, the FDA has provided a number of warnings about the drug’s potential increased risk of serious birth defects to unborn children. Beginning in 2006 the FDA has required prescriptions of Depakote carry a warning about the risks of birth defects. This type of warning is only necessary when the agency discovers the side effects of a particular drug may result in serious injury or wrongful death.
Some of the possible side effects include the following:
- Craniofacial defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
- Malformations of the cardiovascular system that affect the heart or blood vessels.
- Defects in the neural tube such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
Consider the potential for neural tube defects. According to the FDA, “the rates for neural tube defects in babies exposed to valproate during the first trimester are 30 to 80 times higher than the rate for neural tube defects in the general US population.”
The neural tube, while beginning as tissue, eventually forms the brain and spinal cord of the growing embryo. Defects in the neural tube obviously carry serious repercussions. Spina bifida is the result of the tube not closing properly before birth, which can lead to numerous problems including paralysis or weakness in the legs, orthopedic problems, bladder and bowel control issues, and limitations in mental capabilities.
Other conditions not apparent until later in life, but may also be related to the use of Depakote while pregnant:
- Learning difficulties and cognitive impairment
- Hormone imbalance
- Mild forms of autism and/or cerebral palsy
- ADHD or problems with behavior
- Impairment of fine motor skills
- Impairment in speech
- Disorders in sensory processing
Exploring your legal options.
If you suspect that your use of Depakote while pregnant may have played a role in your child’s birth injury or birth defect, we ask that you call us at 1-877-405-4313 for a free consultation into your family’s legal rights. Our Dallas Depakote birth defect attorneys are happy to discuss the facts of your case, look into the matter further, and provide you with our assessment of the strength of your case and your options moving forward.
If we feel as though you have an actionable case, we’ll offer to help you with your claim at no cost to you. We work strictly on a contingency basis, meaning that we never earn a fee unless (and until) we win your case and put money in your pocket.
Speak With a Dallas Birth Defect Attorney For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.