Anti-depressant and anti-seizure medications have been linked to the development of spina bifida birth defects.
Spina bifida is a birth defect in which the bones of the spine fail to properly form. Spina bifida in newborns can occur anywhere along the spine, but more-commonly occurs in the lower back.
There appears to be a connection between some medications prescribed for treating epilepsy and bipolar disorder, and an increased risk of a spina bifida birth injury when taken by pregnant women. Some of the drugs and drug classes that carry this risk are the anti-seizure medication carbamazepine (commonly sold as Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro® or TEGretol®), which increases a woman’s risk of having a baby with spina bifida if taken during pregnancy, and the epilepsy drug valproic acid (commonly sold as Depacon®, Depakote®, Depakene®, and Stayzor®) which increases the risk sixfold.
In spite of the risk presented by carbamazepine, its overall risk is still lower than valproic acid. According to research of 4 million babies born in Europe between 1995 and 2005 (2,680 whose mothers took carbamazepine during the first three months of pregnancy), only spina bifida appeared to be a major birth defect.
Based on these findings, the American Academy of Neurology has recommended women avoid the use of valproic acid during pregnancy. In addition, since it is not a good idea to switch anti-seizure medications, many neurologists try to avoid prescribing valproic acid to females during their childbearing years. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, but you should always listen to your doctor’s advice.
There are several different types of spina bifida:
- Spina bifida occulta affects one or more vertebrae but does no apparent damage to the spinal cord.
- Posterior Meningocele is a type of spina bifida where the bones start to protrude from the spinal opening.
- Myelomeningocele (AKA meningomyelocele) is where parts of the spinal column protrude through the back, sometimes appearing to be a sac covered by skin, and often results in the most-serious complications.
Treatment is available.
While spina bifida cannot be “cured,” there are several treatments available to children suffering from this birth defect. The usual treatment includes various types of therapy to protect the nerves and consultations with nutritional specialists concerning bone growth.
The process necessary to protect the nerves and possibly grow the vertebrae is usually long and can be very expensive. The treatment for Myelomeningocele is called “shunting” and often treatments involve both the Myelomeningocele and hydrocephalus.
These treatments can be expensive, but if you have a child with spina bifida, you may be able to recover compensation through a product liability lawsuit. Of course, this depends on a number of factors, but we’re happy to take your call and discuss your options moving forward. Call us at 1-877-405-4313. The consultation is free, and we never charge a penny unless we actually win your case or secure a fair settlement.
Speak With a Dallas Birth Defect Lawyer 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.