Depakote Birth Defects

Depakote birth defects may result from side effects of Depakote use in pregnancy and lawsuits are being filed by Depakote lawyers and attorneys around the US.

An emerging body of research has identified Depakote use during pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of major birth defects among children. Depakote is one of a group of pharmaceutical drugs called anticonvulsants, which were initially designed as a first-line of defense against epilepsy. In recent years, however, many anticonvulsant drugs have been approved for additional purposes, and some are even prescribed off-label by physicians. Depakote has been on the U.S. market since 1983, and has since been FDA-approved for the treatment of epilepsy, migraine headaches, seizures, and the manic phase of bipolar disorder. Depakote is made up of equal parts sodium valproate and valproic acid, and functions by inhibiting the firing of certain impulses in the brain which are responsible for causing seizures. Depakote is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories. Despite this Depakote birth defect risk, it remains one of the most popular anticonvulsant drugs on the U.S. market. If you took Depakote during pregnancy and your child was born with a serious birth defect, contact a Depakote attorney to discuss your legal options.

Potential Depakote Birth Defects

According to recent studies, infants born to women who take Depakote during pregnancy may have a significantly increased risk of developing major birth defects due to side effects of Depakote, compared to infants whose mothers receive no anticonvulsant treatment while pregnant. Among the birth defects potentially associated with Depakote are:

  • Neural tube defects
  • Spina bifida
  • Heart defects
  • Cleft palate
  • Anencephaly
  • Fetal death
  • Skeletal defects
  • Hand deformations
  • Developmental delay
  • Growth retardation
  • Iniencephaly
  • Hypoplasia
  • Hydranencephaly
  • Fetal valproate syndrome
  • Hypoplastic right heart syndrome
  • Facial dysmorphism
  • Autism

Depakote FDA Warnings

Due to the potential for Depakote to cause serious birth defects, the FDA has classified the anticonvulsant drug as a pregnancy category D medication. This means there is positive human evidence of the potential for Depakote to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. The FDA has also advised physicians to consider all benefits and risks of Depakote before prescribing the drug to women of childbearing age, especially for conditions not usually associated with permanent injury or death. In 2009, the FDA issued an official safety announcement warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of birth defects, namely neural tube defects such as spina bifida, craniofacial malformations and heart defects, among infants exposed to valproate (Depakote) in utero. More recently, in 2011, the FDA issued a safety announcement regarding the increased risk of lower cognitive test scores among children exposed to Depakote during pregnancy, compared to children exposed to other anticonvulsant drugs in utero.

Depakote Use and Pregnancy

Most birth defects occur during the first trimester of pregnancy, before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Because nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, all women of childbearing age taking Depakote may be at risk of unknowingly causing irreversible harm to their unborn child in the form of birth defects such as hypoplasia and hydranencephaly. If you are currently taking Depakote and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider immediately. You should never suddenly stop taking a prescription medication, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. However, with the help of your doctor, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Depakote for treating your condition.

Depakote Attorneys for Birth Defects

All children have the right to live a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, children born with one or more birth defects, such as those possibly linked to Depakote, are likely to suffer from significant complications, which can severely diminish a child's quality of life. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect which you believe to be associated with Depakote, contact a Depakote attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a Depakote lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories. The main goal of Depakote lawsuits and Depakote class action lawsuits is to seek financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses, as well as the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. Drug companies like Abbott are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held accountable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. By hiring a Depakote lawyer to represent your case, you can protect yourself from further harm and seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries.

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