Hand Deformations and Depakote

Hand deformation Depakote birth defects may have resulted from Depakote side effects when used in pregnancy.  Explore lawsuit and class action options if your child was born with hand deformations by contacting a Depakote attorney.

According to a number of Depakote side effect studies, the anticonvulsant drug Depakote may be linked to the development of serious birth defects among children, including hand deformations. Depakote is an anticonvulsant medication approved for the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, seizures and migraine headaches. Depakote (valproic acid) was approved by the FDA in 1983 and is currently manufactured by drug company Abbott Laboratories. Depakote works by inhibiting the firing of certain impulses in the brain which are responsible for causing seizure-related disorders. Although Depakote has become one of the most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant drugs in the U.S. and other countries, serious doubts 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 hand deformation birth defect, contact a Depakote attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. Your child may be entitled to lifetime care or financial compensation for his injuries, which you can collect by filing a Depakote lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories.

Types of Hand Deformations

Hand deformations are congenital birth defects characterized by the malformation of any part of the hand, including the thumbs and fingers. Hand deformations are typically classified by the type of defect, which can range from the complete absence of a hand or finger to the presence of extra or overdeveloped fingers. Among the most common types of hand deformations are:

  • Constriction band syndrome—a constricting band of tissue forms around the arm or finger, restricting tissue growth and blood flow
  • Polydactyly—the duplication of fingers
  • Syndactyly—the fusion of two fingers (webbing)
  • Macrodactyly—the over development of the tissue of a finger
  • Brachydactyly—the thumb and forefinger are abnormally short
  • Radial club hand defect—an abnormally small or absent thumb and underdeveloped muscles of the arm and hand
  • Ulnar club hand defect—an abnormally small or absent little finger and underdeveloped muscles of the arm and hand

Hand Deformation Treatment and Complications

The proper hand deformation treatment depends largely on the type and severity of the defect, although the main goal of treatment is always to restore the proper appearance and function of the hand to the greatest extent possible. In some cases, the affected child may benefit from surgery to repair the malformation, while other children may require the use of braces, splints or prostheses. In cases where the hand deformation cannot be repaired, treatment is focused on helping the child adapt to the defect.

Depakote and Side Effect Studies

The FDA issued a safety announcement in 2009 warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of birth defects among children exposed to Depakote in utero. Included among the potential Depakote birth defects were neural tube birth defects, craniofacial defects, and heart defects. This FDA warning was based on data collected by the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, which suggested that Depakote use in pregnancy increased the rate of major malformations in children by four times, compared to children whose mothers took a different anticonvulsant drug. According to a New England Journal of Medicine study published in 2010, children exposed to Depakote in utero 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 be born with a hand deformation.

Depakote Use in 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 serious fetal harm when taken during pregnancy. In fact, the FDA has advised physicians to avoid prescribing Depakote to pregnant women, especially for conditions not typically associated with permanent injury or death. 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 drug, but your doctor may be able to help you find a safer alternative to Depakote for treating your condition.

Depakote Attorneys for Hand Deformation Side Effects

Although hand deformations are not life-threatening birth defects, they can severely affect a child's quality of life. Children born with certain hand deformations may be unable to participate in some activities, and may also be unable to perform everyday tasks like grasping objects and playing with toys. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect or hand deformation birth defect and you believe Depakote to be the cause, contact a Depakote attorney immediately. 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. No pharmaceutical drug should cause consumers or their unborn children serious harm. By hiring an experienced Depakote lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.

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