Tegretol and Cleft Lip Side Effects

Children born with cleft lip after being exposed to Tegretol in utero may be entitled to lifetime care. Contact a Tegretol attorney today to discuss your compensation options.

The potential for the anticonvulsant Tegretol to cause cleft lip birth defects in children exposed to the drug in pregnancy has raised serious concerns about how appropriate Tegretol is in the treatment of pregnant women. Tegretol was approved by the FDA in 1974 and has since been used to treat epilepsy, the manic phase of bipolar disorder, and neuropathic (nerve) pain. Tegretol (carbamazepine) is currently manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and functions by inhibiting nerve impulses that cause pain and seizures. Regardless of the popularity of Tegretol, an emerging body of research has identified use of the anticonvulsant in pregnancy as a risk factor for the development of life-altering birth defects among children. If you took Tegretol while pregnant and your child was born with a cleft lip side effect, contact a Tegretol attorney to discuss your legal options.

Cleft Lip Symptoms

A cleft lip is a type of craniofacial birth defect, characterized by a vertical fissure in one or both sides of the upper lip. Under normal circumstances, a child's lips are fully developed during the early stages of pregnancy. However, when there isn't enough tissue in the lip area as these structures are developing, a cleft lip may occur. The severity of a cleft lip varies from a small notch in the upper lip to a significant opening in the lip which may extend up through the nose in serious cases.

Cleft Lip Treatment and Complications

Children born with a cleft lip typically require surgery to repair the malformation and restore the appearance and function of the child's upper lip. Without treatment, affected children may struggle with a number of life-altering complications, including feeding difficulties, chronic ear infections, hearing loss, dental problems like missing or malformed teeth, and delays in speech and language development.

Tegretol Side Effect Studies

The adverse effects of fetal exposure to anticonvulsant medications like Tegretol have been apparent for some time. As early as 1989, researchers were examining the teratogenic effects of Tegretol, defined as the drug's potential to inhibit fetal development, resulting in severe fetal malformations. According to a New England Journal of Medicine study published that year, the teratogenicity of Tegretol was illustrated by the incidence of birth defects present in children exposed to the anticonvulsant during pregnancy. In 2001, the NEJM published an additional study with the intention of observing the outcomes of pregnancies involving women who took anticonvulsants like Tegretol while pregnant. According to researchers, exposure to anticonvulsant drugs like Tegretol was associated with a distinctive pattern of physical abnormalities in infants. The report indicated that 20.6% of infants exposed to one anticonvulsant drug in utero were born with major birth defects, compared to 28% of infants exposed to more than one anticonvulsant, and only 8.5% of unexposed infants.

Tegretol in Pregnancy

Tegretol has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category D medication, which means there is positive human evidence illustrating the drug's ability to cause serious harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking the anticonvulsant Tegretol and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your physician as soon as possible. You should never abruptly stop taking a prescription drug without medical consent, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. However, with your doctor's guidance, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Tegretol for treating your condition.

Tegretol Attorneys for Cleft Lip Side Effects

Although cleft lip can be repaired successfully with surgery, the medical cost of this treatment, in addition to the long-term medical care some cleft lip victims require, can be a significant financial burden for many families. If you or a loved one has suffered from a cleft lip and you believe Tegretol to be the cause, contact an experienced Tegretol attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a Tegretol lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, the medical cost of treating your injuries, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. Drug companies like Novartis are expected to produce safe and effective medications, and should be held responsible for any adverse side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. With the help of a qualified Tegretol lawyer, victims of potential Tegretol birth defects can feel confident that their case is in professional and capable hands.

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