Skeletal Birth Defects and Depakote

Skeletal birth defects and Depakote use in pregnancy side effects have been possibly associated and lawsuits are forming.  Contact a Depakote attorney for help today.

Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the anticonvulsant drug Depakote, in light of new side effect information suggesting that Depakote may lead to the development of skeletal birth defects in children exposed to the drug during pregnancy. Depakote is one of the most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant drugs on the market and has been available in the U.S. since it garnered FDA approval in 1983. Since then, Depakote has been approved for the treatment of epilepsy, seizures, migraine headaches and bipolar disorder. Depakote (valproic acid) works by interrupting the firing of certain impulses in the brain which cause seizures. Depakote is currently manufactured by drug company Abbott Laboratories.

Despite the popularity of Depakote and other anticonvulsant drugs, new Depakote side effect information indicates that this medication may no longer be safe in the treatment of pregnant women or women of childbearing age. An emerging body of research has determined that women who take Depakote while pregnant may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to infants with major Depakote birth defects, including skeletal defects. If you took Depakote while pregnant and your child was born with a side effect or skeletal birth defect, contact a Depakote attorney, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Types of Skeletal Birth Defects

Skeletal birth defects are congenital malformations characterized by the improper development of a child's skeleton in utero. There are a number of different types of skeletal defects, which can be further narrowed down to defect of the limbs and defects of the skull. Limb malformations occur when a portion of or an entire upper or lower limb fails to fully form during fetal development, resulting in defects like club foot. Children with club foot are born with one or both feet abnormally small and internally rotated at the ankle. Other skeletal defects affecting the limbs may include absent, extra, abnormally small or abnormally large fingers, toes, arms or legs. Defects of the skull, such as craniosynostosis, are characterized by absent or underdeveloped portions of the cranium, which may be accompanied by damage to critical parts of the brain.

Skeletal Birth Defect Treatment and Complications

Children born with skeletal defects like club foot can sometimes be treated with surgery to correct the malformation and repair any additional complications associated with the defect. Without treatment, children with club foot may being to walk on their ankles or the outside of their feet, causing large sores or callouses to develop. Over time, club foot can cause debilitating side effects, including restricted calf muscle growth and an awkward gait. In children born with skull defects like craniosynostosis, surgery is also required to decrease any pressure on the brain and to ensure there is enough room in the skull to allow for normal head growth in the future. Unfortunately, some children with craniosynostosis may suffer from life-threatening complications like seizures, excessive intracranial pressure and developmental delay.

Depakote and Side Effect Studies

In 2009, the FDA issued a safety announcement warning patients and physicians about the increased risk of birth defects in children whose mothers take Depakote during pregnancy. Among the potential Depakote birth defects were craniofacial defects like craniosynostosis, neural tube birth defects and heart malformations. This FDA warning was based on data provided by the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, which indicated that the rate of major malformations in children exposed to Depakote in utero was nearly four times higher than the rate of major malformations in children exposed to other anticonvulsant drugs during pregnancy.

In 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in which researchers found a considerably increased risk of birth defects among children exposed to Depakote in utero, compared to children exposed to other anticonvulsant drugs, and children exposed to no anticonvulsant drugs during pregnancy. According to the report, infants whose mothers took Depakote while pregnant were 12.7 times more likely to develop spina bifida, nearly seven times more likely to develop craniosynostosis, five times more likely to be born with cleft palate, 2.5 times more likely to be born with an atrial septal defects, and more than twice as likely to develop 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 significant fetal harm when taken during pregnancy. Due to this potential danger, the FDA has advised physicians to avoid prescribing Depakote to women of childbearing age, 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 to discuss alternative treatment options. 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 way to treat your condition.

Depakote Attorneys for Skeletal Defect Side Effects

Skeletal birth defects like craniosynostosis and club foot are serious and can significantly alter an affected child's quality of life. If you or a loved one has suffered from a skeletal birth defect and you believe Depakote to be the cause, contact a Depakote attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a Depakote lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses. The main goal of Depakote attorneys is to help potential birth defect victims protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve. You are not at fault for any injuries caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. With the help of an experienced Depakote lawyer, you can protect yourself from further harm and bring public attention to the alleged dangers of the anticonvulsant drug Depakote, possibly preventing further injury and death in the future.

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