Cleft Palate and Depakote

Cleft palate Depakote side effects are a form of birth defect that may be associated with Depakote use in pregnancy.  Contact a Depakote attorney for lawsuit info if your child has been affected.

Depakote birth defect studies and FDA warnings have indicated that the anticonvulsant drug may be linked to the development of Depakote side effects among children, including cleft palate birth defects. Depakote is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories, and has been on the market in the U.S. since 1983. Since its introduction, Depakote (valproic acid) has been approved for the treatment of epilepsy, seizures, migraine headaches, and bipolar disorder. Depakote works by inhibiting the firing of certain neurotransmitters in the brain which are responsible for causing seizures. Although Depakote has become one of the most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant drugs available in the U.S., recent research has identified fetal exposure to Depakote as a possible risk factor for the development of major birth defects like cleft palate among children. If you took Depakote while pregnant and your child was born with a serious birth defect, contact an experienced Depakote attorney to discuss your legal options.

Cleft Palate Symptoms

Cleft palate is a craniofacial malformation affecting the development of a child's palate in utero. Cleft palate is caused by a lack of tissue in the palate area during fetal development, preventing the palate from fusing together completely. As a result, the affected child is born with an opening in the palate which can range in severity from a small opening at the back of the mouth to a nearly complete separation of the roof of the mouth.

Cleft Palate Treatment and Complications

The only way to permanently repair a cleft palate is to perform reconstructive surgery on the child's palate. Without treatment, affected children may struggle with a number of debilitating complications, including feeding difficulties, dental problems like missing or malformed teeth, frequent ear infections, hearing loss, and speech and language delay. Many children with cleft palate require long-term medical care in order to repair additional dental issues, to encourage normal speech and language development, and to prevent any further complications.

Depakote Side Effect Studies

The FDA recently issued a safety announcement warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of serious birth defects among children exposed to Depakote during pregnancy. According to the FDA warning, women who take Depakote while pregnant may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to children with neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida, heart defects and craniofacial birth defects like cleft palate. According to a 2001 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 20.6% of infants exposed to one anticonvulsant drug in utero developed birth defects, compared to 28% of infants exposed to two or more anticonvulsants, and only 8.5% of infants exposed to no anticonvulsant drugs in utero. Another NEJM study published in 2010 found that children exposed to Depakote during pregnancy were two to seven times more likely to develop birth defect side effects like cleft palate, hand deformations, heart defects and skeletal defects, compared to unexposed children.

Depakote During Pregnancy

The FDA has classified Depakote as a pregnancy category D medication, which means there is positive human evidence of the drug's potential to cause severe harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Depakote and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your healthcare provider immediately. You should never abruptly stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, but with your doctor's help, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Depakote for treating your medical condition.

Depakote Attorneys for Cleft Palate Side Effects

The birth defects potentially associated with Depakote use in pregnancy are significant and can cause severe pain and suffering for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect or birth defect like cleft palate, which you believe to be associated with Depakote, contact a Depakote attorney as soon as possible. You may have grounds to file a Depakote lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Drug companies like Abbott are expected to produce safe medications, and should be held accountable for any serious side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. With the help of a qualified Depakote lawyer, victims of potential Depakote birth defects can collect the compensation they deserve and bring public attention to the potential dangers of Depakote.

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