If you suffer from epilepsy, bipolar disorder, manic depression, or migraine headaches, your doctor may have prescribed Depakote®.
Depakote® (also known as divalproex sodium, sodium valproate, and valporic acid) is an an anticonvulsant and a mood stabilizer used to treat symptoms of various neurological disorders such as epilepsy, migraine headaches, bipolar disorder and manic depression. This prescription medication was initially approved by the FDA in 1978 and has since been found to cause a series of problems, particularly among patients who are pregnant. Studies indicate that the children of women who took this medication while pregnant are more likely to suffer from a birth defect or a lower IQ.
Some of the birth defects common among women who took Depakote® during pregnancy include the following:
- Spina bifida
- Atrial septal defect (a hole in the heart)
- Cleft palate
- Hypospadias (an abnormality in the opening of the urethra in boys)
- Polydactyly (extra fingers or toes)
- Craniosynostosis (one or more sutures on a baby’s skull close prematurely)
Research shows that these birth defects are common among children of women who took valproic acid (Depakote®) during their first trimester compared with children of women who did not take any anti-seizure drugs. A study released in 2005 revealed that there was an 8.9% rate of developing autism among children exposed to sodium valproate (Depakote) before birth. This is abnormally high considering the normal rate of incidence for autism in the general population is less than 1%.
As a result, lawsuits are being filed against the manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, alleging personal injuries to children of women who took Depakote® while pregnant. Depakote® has also been the subject to other numerous lawsuits, particularly regarding the illegal marketing of the drug for off-label use.
If you or a family has experienced a birth defect as a result of taking Depakote® during pregnancy, we can help you. Our firm has represented dozens of children who suffered birth defects, and you may be entitled to financial compensation. Recovery may include compensations for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of wages. To find out if you have a claim, please call Avram Blair & Associates, P.C. toll-free at (800) 648-2139 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.