Originally approved in 1978 for the treatment of epilepsy, Depakote is a drug now prescribed to treat bipolar mania as well as less serious conditions such as migraine headaches. After more studies on the drug revealed serious neural tube birth defects related to valproate, Depakote’s active ingredient, the FDA issued major warnings for the medication.
Valproate, which can be found in other brand name medications such as Depacon, Depakote CP, Depakote ER, Depakene and Stavzor, is shown to significantly increase the risk of neural tube defects in babies born to mothers treated with the drug during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, according to the FDA, neural tube defects in babies exposed to valproate during the first trimester are 30 to 80 times higher than those in the general U.S. population.
While Depakote manufacturer Abbott Laboratories has added cautionary information regarding the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry to the drug’s label, and the FDA has warned doctors and patients about the Depakote’s dangers, not all users have been adequately protected. Either they learned about risks after pregnancy ensued or they may have continued using Depakote to avoid serious complications associated with the immediate discontinuation of any epilepsy treatment.
If you fall into one of these categories or have a child with a neural tube defect that you believe may be related to Depakote use, we are here to help. You are not alone.
Douglas & London has a history of representing innocent children injured in utero. Firm partner Stephanie O’Connor has successfully litigated cases of children born with limb reduction deficits linked to a pre-natal diagnostic test known as chorionic villi sampling or “CVS.” Because of her significant expertise in this litigation, Ms. O’Connor was admitted pro hac vice in several jurisdictions across the country, including Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon and California.
Additionally, Ms. O’Connor along with firm partner, Michael London, have extensive experience representing women injured and/or rendered infertile as a result of their exposure in utero to the devastating effects of Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a medication prescribed for women during pregnancy from the 1940s through 1971 which was conclusively linked to the development of a rare form of uterine cancer in fetuses as well as reproductive tract anomalies that interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive and carry a child to term.
Ms. O’Connor and Mr. London have also been actively involved in representing infants born with birth defects as a result of their exposure in utero to antidepressants, such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft.
If you or a loved one has suffered a neural tube defect that you believe may be related to Depakote use, please contact us your Depakote lawyer team.