Depakote (valproic acid, sodium valproate) is a popular medication prescribed for seizure disorders and also for certain mental health conditions. The FDA approves Depakote for prevention of many kinds of seizures. It is also approved primarily for treatment of manic episodes in individuals suffering from bipolar disorder. It has also been prescribed off-label for additional uses including migraine prevention. Like many other mental health drugs, Depakote has been associated with birth defects in women taking it before pregnancy and during the first trimester.
Depakote Birth Defects Reported
Many different birth defects have been reported in the children of mothers who have taken the medication Depakote before pregnancy or during the first trimester. There are several birth defects that are associated with the drug. Among these defects are risks of those of cleft palate, deformed hands and limbs, heart malformation, genital defects, and neural tube defects including spina bifida. Depakote is known to counteract folic acid, which is an important factor in properly forming the child’s body in the first few weeks of pregnancy. A lack of folic acid leads to neural tube defects including spina bifida or, at the most sever, anencephaly – a condition that results when a child is born without a brain.
Many times Depakote is the only drug that can properly control a seizure disorder. Seizures during pregnancy may be much more dangerous to a child than the drug can be. For this reason, the FDA has placed the medication Depakote in Pregnancy Category D, meaning that it has been known to cause birth defects, but the risks of having seizures during pregnancy may outweigh the risk of birth defects.
Depakote Side Effects Can Be Severe
In addition to the risks of birth defects, Depakote has been associated with severe side effects. Since Depakote is processed out of the body through the liver, it has been associated with risks of liver failure. It is also associated with pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to diabetes or pancreatic cancer (among the deadliest forms of cancer). Depakote has also been associated with somnolence, or constant drowsiness, as one of its side effects.
PLEASE SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE DISCONTINUING USE OF DEPAKOTE OR ANY OTHER PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION.
Have You or a Loved One Given Birth to a Child with Birth Defects After Taking Depakote?
If you or a loved one have given birth to a child with birth defects after taking the antidepressant medication Depakote, you may want to speak with a Rhode Island attorney regarding a potential Depakote lawsuit. d’Oliveira & Associates, Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, are working with some of the leading lawyers in the country who are handling these cases.
Please contact the law offices of d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.