Tegretol and Skeletal Defect Side Effects

Skeletal birth defects like craniosynostosis and club foot may result in injury lawsuits being filed by Tegretol patients. If you have been affected by the anticonvulsant medication, contact a Tegretol lawyer for legal help.

Researchers have identified a potential connection between the use of the anticonvulsant Tegretol in pregnancy and the development of serious side effects, particularly skeletal birth defects, among exposed children. Tegretol is an anticonvulsant drug currently manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals and widely prescribed to patients suffering from neuropathic (nerve) pain, epilepsy and the manic phase of bipolar disorder. The active ingredient in Tegretol is carbamazepine, and the drug works by inhibiting nerve impulses that cause seizures and pain. Although Tegretol has become one of the most popular anticonvulsants on the market since its introduction in 1974, recent studies have brought public attention to the potentially harmful nature of the anti-epileptic drug. If you took Tegretol while pregnant and your child was born with a skeletal birth defect, contact a Tegretol attorney for legal help.

Skeletal Defect Signs and Symptoms

As a child is developing in utero, the skeleton starts out as soft cartilage, which hardens into bone before birth. In some cases however, parts of the skeleton may develop abnormally, resulting in a skeletal birth defect. Skeletal defects can affect virtually any part of the skeleton, although they are typically classified as defects of the limb or defects of the skull.

Limb Defects

Limb defects result when a portion of a limb or an entire limb fails to develop properly in pregnancy, causing a malformation in an affected child's hand, foot, arm or leg. Limb defects can be classified in a number of different ways, including: complete absence of a limb, undergrowth, overgrowth, failure to separate, duplication, and constriction band syndrome. Club foot is one of the most common types of limb defects, in which one or both of a child's feet are smaller than normal and internally rotated at the ankle.

Skull Defects

Defects of the skull are especially dangerous, as they are sometimes accompanied by malformations of critical parts of the brain. Two of the most common skull defects are craniosynostosis, a birth defect characterized by the premature closing of a child's cranial sutures, and microcephaly, a serious malformation in which a child is born with an abnormally small head caused by the failure of the brain to grow normally. Children born with craniosynostosis may suffer from life-altering complications like seizures and developmental delay. In children struggling with microcephaly, severe complications like delayed motor function, mental retardation, seizures and delayed speech may arise.

Tegretol Side Effect Studies

In 2001, the New England Journal of Medicine published a revealing anticonvulsant side effect study, in which researchers concluded that anticonvulsant drugs are one of the most common causes of potential harm to a fetus in utero. Researchers involved in this study screened over 100,000 women between 1986 and 1993, dividing them into different groups based on their anticonvulsant use in pregnancy. Of the women who took only one anticonvulsant medication, 87 took Dilantin, 58 took Tegretol, and six took Depakote, among others. According to the results of the study, 20.6% of children whose mothers took only one anticonvulsant while pregnant were born with major birth defects, compared to 28% of children exposed to two or more anticonvulsants in utero, and only 8.5% of unexposed children. Researchers also found that 13.8% of infants exposed to Tegretol alone developed devastating birth defects like microcephaly, spina bifida and growth retardation.

Tegretol in Pregnancy

The FDA has classified Tegretol as a pregnancy category D medication, which means positive human evidence shows the drug 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 healthcare provider to discuss your treatment options. You should never suddenly discontinue use of a prescription drug, as this may cause further harm to you or your child. However, with the help of your doctor, you may be able to find a safer alternative to Tegretol for treating your medical condition.

Tegretol Attorneys for Skeletal Birth Defects

An emerging body of research has indicated that women who take the anticonvulsant Tegretol during pregnancy may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to children with major birth defects, including skeletal defects. If you or a loved one has suffered from a side effect or skeletal birth defect, and you believe Tegretol to be the cause, contact a Tegretol attorney to discuss your legal options. 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. You are not at fault for any side effects caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, and you should not be held responsible for the resulting consequences. With the help of a qualified Tegretol lawyer, Tegretol side effect victims can protect their rights and collect the compensation they deserve.

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