Tegretol Birth Defects

Attorneys across the country are investigating birth defect claims filed by Tegretol patients. If you have been affected by the anticonvulsant drug, consult a Tegretol lawyer to discuss your legal options.

An emerging body of research has identified Tegretol use in pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of major birth defects among children exposed to the drug in utero. Tegretol has been available in the U.S. since it garnered FDA approval in 1974, and is commonly used to treat conditions like epilepsy, the manic phase of bipolar disorder, and neuropathic (nerve) pain. The active ingredient in Tegretol is carbamazepine, and the drug functions by inhibiting nerve impulses that cause pain and seizures. Tegretol is currently manufactured by drug company Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and has become one of the most popular anticonvulsants on the market today. Unfortunately, recent studies has raised serious concerns about the safety of the medication, especially in treating pregnant women. If you took Tegretol while pregnant and your child was born with a devastating birth defect, contact a Tegretol attorney for legal help.

Potential Tegretol Birth Defects

According to recent studies, children whose mothers take the anticonvulsant Tegretol while pregnant may have a significantly increased risk of suffering from one or more major side effects. Among these possible Tegretol side effects are birth defects like:

  • Spina bifida
  • Heart defects
  • Limb defects
  • Skeletal defects
  • Growth retardation
  • Cleft palate
  • Cleft lip
  • Hypospadias
  • Hypoplasia
  • Developmental delay

Most birth defects occur during the first trimester of pregnancy, before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Unfortunately, because nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, all women of childbearing age taking Tegretol may be at risk of unknowingly exposing their unborn child to irreversible harm.

Tegretol Side Effect Studies

One of the most significant Tegretol side effect studies was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2001, in which researchers indicated that anticonvulsant drugs like Tegretol are one of the most common causes of potential harm to a fetus in utero. Over 100,000 women were screened between 1986 and 1993 for this study, and were divided into different groups based on the extent of their anticonvulsant use in pregnancy. Of the women who took only one anticonvulsant, 87 took Dilantin, 58 took Tegretol, and six took Depakote, among others. According to the study results, 20.6% of children exposed to one anticonvulsant in utero were born with serious birth defects, compared to 28% of children exposed to more than one anticonvulsant, and only 8.5% of unexposed children. Among these birth defects were spina bifida, microcephaly, growth retardation, hypoplasia of the fingers and hypoplasia of the midface.

Although Tegretol has remained on the market in the U.S. for nearly forty years, the potentially harmful nature of the anticonvulsant drug has been apparent for many years. In 1989, the NEJM published a study in which researchers sought to examine the pattern of malformations in children whose mothers took Tegretol while pregnant. According to researchers, the teratogenicity of Tegretol was illustrated by the incidence of birth defects, including craniofacial defects, developmental delay and hypoplasia, among children exposed to the medication in utero. More recently, in 2010, the British Medical Journal published a study in which researchers found a significantly increased risk of spina bifida among children exposed to Tegretol in pregnancy, compared to children exposed to no anticonvulsants in utero.

Tegretol Use During Pregnancy

Tegretol has been labeled a pregnancy category D medication by the FDA, a category reserved for drugs which positive human evidence has shown may cause unreasonable harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Tegretol and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your physician to discuss your treatment options. It may be dangerous to stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, but your doctor may be able to help you find a safer alternative to Tegretol for treating your condition.

Tegretol Attorneys for Birth Defects

The birth defects potentially associated with the anticonvulsant Tegretol are serious and can severely alter an affected child's quality of life. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect or birth defect, and you believe Tegretol to be the cause, contact a qualified Tegretol attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a Tegretol lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Consumers expect their prescription drugs to effectively treat their condition without causing them any unnecessary harm. Unfortunately, there are some drugs currently on the market that are associated with side effects so severe they may actually outweigh any possible benefits of the treatment. Following a birth defect diagnosis, injured victims and their families should be given adequate time to concentrate on seeking proper medical treatment, without having to worry about filing an injury lawsuit as well. By hiring an experienced Tegretol lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.

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