Facial Dysmorphism and Depakote

Facial Dysmorphism and Depakote side effects of use during pregnancy may be connected and attorneys are filing Depakote birth defect lawsuits on behalf of victims.  Contact a Depakote lawyer today if your family has been affected.

Recent Depakote side effect studies have suggested that the anticonvulsant drug Depakote may be associated with the development of major birth defects among children, including a severe side effect called facial dysmorphism. Depakote was approved by the FDA as an anticonvulsant drug in 1983 and has since been approved for the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, seizures and migraine headaches. Depakote (valproic acid) functions by inhibiting the firing of certain impulses in the brain, and the drug is currently manufactured by pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories. Despite Depakote's reputation as one of the most frequently prescribed anticonvulsant drugs on the market, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the medication, especially in treating pregnant women or women of childbearing age. If you took Depakote while pregnant and your child was born with a side effect or a series of birth defects like facial dysmorphism, contact a Depakote attorney to discuss your legal options. Your child may be entitled to lifetime care, which you can acquire by filing a Depakote lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories.

What is Facial Dysmorphism?

Facial dysmorphism is a congenital malformation causing abnormalities in the development of a child's facial features in utero. Children born with facial dysmorphism may suffer from any number of birth defects, including:

  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Facial asymmetries
  • Mismatched eye colors
  • Ear deformations
  • Eyes spaced too close together
  • Eyes spaced too far apart

There is no single treatment for facial dysmorphism, as each instance of this birth defect is characterized by a unique combination of abnormalities. Facial dysmorphism treatment typically involves managing each side effect individually.

Depakote and Side Effect Studies

The FDA issued a safety announcement in 2009 warning patients and healthcare providers about the increased risk of birth defects in children exposed to Depakote during pregnancy. Among the potential Depakote birth defects included in the FDA warning were neural tube birth defects (malformations of the brain and spinal cord), heart malformations (defects of the heart and blood vessels) and craniofacial defects (abnormalities of the face and skull). This FDA action was taken in response to data provided by the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, which indicated that children whose mothers took Depakote while pregnant were four times as likely to develop major malformations compared to children whose mothers took a different anticonvulsant drug.

In 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in which researchers sought to examine the adverse effects of fetal exposure to Depakote. According to the report, babies exposed to Depakote during the first trimester of pregnancy were 12.7 times more likely to be born with spina bifida, nearly seven times more likely to develop craniosynostosis, five times more likely to develop cleft palate, 2.5 times more likely to be born with an atrial septal defect, and more than twice as likely to develop a hand deformation.

Depakote Use in Pregnancy

Depakote has been labeled by the FDA as a pregnancy category D medication, which means there is positive human evidence of the drug's potential to cause serious fetal harm. Most birth defects occur during the first trimester of pregnancy, before many women are even aware they are pregnant, and when a fetus is most vulnerable to harm. 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. If you are currently taking Depakote and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your doctor immediately. You should never 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 condition.

Depakote Attorneys for Facial Dysmorphism Side Effects

The side effects associated with facial dysmorphism are serious and are likely to result in significant medical expenses and emotional suffering for victims and their families. If you or a loved one has suffered from a facial dysmorphism side effect which you believe to be linked to 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, the medical expenses resulting from injury treatment, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. With the help of an experienced Depakote lawyer, victims of potential Depakote side effects can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

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