Tegretol and Cleft Palate Side Effects

Children suffering from cleft palate potentially related to in-utero Tegretol exposure may be entitled to lifetime care. Consult a Tegretol attorney today to explore your compensation options.

After reviewing the results of Tegretol side effect studies, experts have warned consumers that exposure to the anticonvulsant drug during pregnancy may result in the development of major birth defects, including cleft palate, among children. Tegretol is an anticonvulsant medication commonly prescribed to patients suffering from epilepsy, the manic phase of bipolar disorder, and neuropathic (nerve) pain. Tegretol (carbamazepine) has been available in the U.S. since 1974, is currently manufactured by drug company Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and functions by interfering with nerve impulses that cause seizures and pain. Although Tegretol has become one of the most popular anticonvulsant medications available in the U.S., serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the drug, due to emerging Tegretol side effect studies. If you took Tegretol while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect like cleft palate, contact a Tegretol attorney, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Cleft Palate Symptoms

Cleft palate is a congenital birth defect involving the malformation of a child's palate, or roof of the mouth. A cleft palate can affect the soft back portion or the bony front portion of the mouth, and can range in severity from a small hole in the back of the mouth to a nearly complete separation of the roof of the mouth. Under normal circumstances, a child's palate is fully developed during early pregnancy. However, when there isn't enough tissue in the palate area during fetal development, a cleft palate may occur.

Cleft Palate Treatment and Complications

Although there are temporary fixes for cleft palate, including the use of an artificial palate, the only way to permanently repair this malformation is for the child to undergo surgery. Without surgical treatment, children born with cleft palate may suffer from debilitating complications, including:
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Hearing loss
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Speech and language delays
  • Dental issues

Tegretol Side Effect Studies

In 2001, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in which researchers observed the outcomes of pregnancies involving women who took anticonvulsant medications during pregnancy. According to the study, fetal exposure to anticonvulsant drugs like Tegretol was linked to a distinctive pattern of physical abnormalities in children. Researchers suggested that 20.6% of infants exposed to one anticonvulsant drug in utero were born with life-altering birth defects, compared to 28% of infants exposed to two or more anticonvulsants, and only 8.5% of unexposed infants. Although Tegretol side effect studies are still being published, the harmful nature of anticonvulsant drugs has been apparent for several years. In 1989, the NEJM published a study in an attempt to examine the teratogenic effects of Tegretol, defined as the drug's ability to inhibit fetal development and cause fetal malformations. According to researchers, the teratogenicity of Tegretol was illustrated by the incidence of birth defects among children exposed to the anticonvulsant in pregnancy.

Tegretol and Pregnancy

The FDA has classified Tegretol as a pregnancy category D medication, which means there is positive human evidence illustrating the drug's ability to cause serious fetal harm when taken during pregnancy. If you are currently taking Tegretol and you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss alternative treatment options with your physician. It is never advised to 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.

Tegretol Attorneys for Cleft Palate Side Effects

Although cleft palate is one of the least severe birth defects allegedly linked to the anticonvulsant Tegretol, the medical expenses resulting from cleft palate treatment are likely to impose a significant financial burden on the victim's family. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth defect like cleft palate and you believe Tegretol to be the cause, contact a Tegretol 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 Tegretol lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The main goal of Tegretol attorneys is to help victims of Tegretol side effects protect their rights and hold the allegedly negligent drug company liable for their injuries. Too often, injured victims are taken advantage of during their time of need. By hiring a knowledgeable Tegretol lawyer to represent your case, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself and your family from further harm.

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