Depakote Side Effects

Depakote side effects when taken during pregnancy may include birth defects such as spina bifida, heart defects, and fetal death.  Depakote lawsuit attorneys may be able to help.

Although Depakote is one of the most popular anticonvulsant medications on the U.S. market, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the drug, due to new information about potential Depakote side effects. Depakote was approved by the FDA in 1983 and has since been prescribed to patients suffering from epilepsy, migraine headaches, seizures and bipolar disorder. Depakote is made up of equal parts sodium valproate and valproic acid, and functions by slowing down the firing of certain impulses in the brain which are responsible for causing seizure-related episodes. The pharmaceutical company responsible for producing Depakote is Abbott Laboratories. Unfortunately, recent research has identified Depakote use during pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of serious side effects among infants, particularly life-altering birth defects like spina bifida and heart defects.

Potential Depakote Side Effects

According to a number of Depakote side effect studies, women who take Depakote while pregnant may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to infants with severe birth defects, compared to infants whose mothers take no anticonvulsants during pregnancy. Among these potential Depakote side effects are birth defects like:

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

Depakote FDA Warnings

The FDA recently issued a safety announcement warning patients and healthcare professionals about the increased risk of lower cognitive test scores among children exposed to Depakote in utero, compared to children exposed to other anticonvulsant drugs during pregnancy. This new finding indicates that fetal exposure to Depakote may interfere with cognitive development, which includes intelligence, problem solving and abstract reasoning. In 2009, the FDA released a safety announcement regarding the increased risk of side effects in infants whose mothers took Depakote while pregnant, particularly birth defects like neural tube defects, heart defects and craniofacial malformations.

Depakote Use and Pregnancy

Due to the potential for Depakote to cause serious side effects in children, the FDA has classified the anticonvulsant drug as a pregnancy category D medication, which means there is positive human evidence of the potential for Depakote to cause serious 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 suddenly stop taking a prescription medication, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. With the help of your doctor, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Depakote for treating your medical condition.

Depakote Attorneys for Side Effects

In light of Depakote side effect information, the FDA has advised physicians to consider all benefits and risks of Depakote treatment before prescribing the drug to women of childbearing age. Because most birth defects occur during the first trimester of pregnancy, before many women are even aware they are pregnant, all women of childbearing age taking Depakote may be at risk of causing irreparable harm to their unborn child. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect which you believe to be linked to Depakote, contact a Depakote attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Depakote lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories. Pharmaceutical companies like Abbott are responsible for producing and distributing safe medications, and should be held accountable for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, some drug companies actually employ deceptive practices in order to protect themselves from liability following a dangerous drug-related injury. By hiring an experienced Depakote lawyer to represent your case, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself from further harm at the hands of drug companies.

Prescription Drugs in The News