Depakote Lawsuits – Information, Risks and Assistance
Depakote, whose generic name is divalproex sodium and also known as vlproic acid, is a prescription drug used in the treatment of convulsions and seizures. It can be used alone or with other medication to treat epilepsy. Manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, it was first marketed in 1983. In 2006, the FDA first warned of the potential for birth defects when Depakote was taken by pregnant women. Then, in 2009, Abbott was required to update the label to warn women about the risk of significant birth defects.
Over the years, the number and severity of significant birth defects caused by the use of Depakote during pregnancy has grown to include:
- Cleft Palate
- Spina Bifida
- Neural Tube Defects
- Heart defects
Depakote also has been associated with autism and lower IQ for toddlers whose mothers took the drug during pregnancy.
Depakote causes these side effects even when taken as early as the first trimester, before many women realize they are pregnant. Adequate information relating to the risk of birth defects had not been provided by the manufacturer. If it had, women trying to get pregnant or not using birth control would have taken different medication to treat seizures and epileptic fits.
If you took Depakote during your pregnancy and your child suffered a birth defect, you and your child may be entitled to compensation. Please contact one of the Depakote birth defect attorneys in this directory for a free claim evaluation.
Risks and effects
Studies have shown that children whose moms used Depakote before they were born score 7-8 points lower on IQ tests than their counterparts who took different medication for epilepsy. In addition, they are doubly likely to get scores associated with mental retardation.
In 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article warning of a significantly increased risk of spina bifida when Depakote is used during the first trimester of pregnancy. Spina bifida is a serious condition in which the spinal cord and backbone fail to grow properly and the spinal cord pushes through the backbone. Spina bifida can cause serious nerve damage and paralysis among other things.
Depakote is also thought to likely cause neural tube issues. The drug, according to an FDA statement, must include indications of risks of impairment of cognitive function and development for babies if an expectant mother used the drug.
Depakote legal action
If your child has been diagnosed with spina bifida or any of the other birth defects listed here and you were on Depakote during your pregnancy, you may have legal recourse. You can begin the process by contacting one of the Depakote injury lawyers in this directory for a free consultation and review to determine whether you have a valid claim.