The FDA has sounded the safety-alarm concerning the risks of administering Depakote in pregnant women. Exposure of the fetus to the anticonvulsant Depakote is associated with a variety of serious problems that include congenital malformations, developmental delay, and autism.
Depakote is often prescribed to pregnant women for the treatment of migraine pain and has been linked to major congenital malformations, especially defects of the neural tube such as spina bifida, which results in lifelong paralysis of the child’s lower limbs. In addition to migraine prevention, Depakote medications are approved to treat epilepsy and treat manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
In May 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned health care providers of the risks associated with prescribing Depakote to expectant mothers. Specifically, researchers have discovered the use of Depakote during pregnancy is linked to autism and the risk of decreased IQ. Therefore, women in childbearing age groups as well as expectant mothers should avoid the use of the drug. Pregnant women with epilepsy or bipolar disorder should only take Depakote if other medications have been unsuccessful in controlling their symptoms.
Depakote’s pregnancy category for migraine use will be changed from “D” (the potential benefit of the drug in pregnant women may be acceptable despite its potential risks) to “X” (the risk of use in pregnant women clearly outweighs any possible benefit of the drug). Depakote products will remain in pregnancy category “D” for treating epilepsy and manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
Other brand names for Depakote include Depakote ER, Depacon, Depakene, and Stavzor.
Depakote & Epilepsy
According to medical statistics, 1 in 26 people in the United States are estimated to develop epilepsy. In fact, 150,000 new cases of epilepsy are reported each year according to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Patients of all ages suffering from epilepsy are prescribed drugs to reduce the occurrence and intensity of seizures. Depakote has been shown to affect the immune systems of adults, and especially children, and can cause life-long trauma to the brain as well as suppress normal developmental growth.
Depakote’s Link to Bipolar Disorder & Other Conditions
Depakote is used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness. Because it is a brain disorder, sufferers experience mood changes and the inability to manage simple daily tasks.
Also, Depakote is sometimes used to treat outbursts of aggression in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing or remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age), chorea (a group of conditions that affect the ability to control body movements), and certain conditions that affect thinking, learning, and understanding.
Common Side Effects of Depakote
The FDA’s warnings may be too late for patients. Side effects include but are not limited to:
- Spina bifida
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hair loss
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain
Another common reaction to Depakote use is liver failure within the first six months of taking the medication. The risk of developing liver damage is greatest in children who are younger than 2 years of age and in people who are taking more than one medication to prevent seizures, or who have any of the following conditions: a severe seizure disorder and mental retardation; certain inherited diseases that prevent the body from changing food to energy normally; any condition that affects the ability to think, learn, and understand; or liver disease.
Also, Depakote may cause serious or life-threatening damage to the pancreas. This may occur at any time during your treatment. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
Legal Help for Depakote Victims
Gilman Law LLP is providing free legal consultations to victims of Depakote induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or anyone you know has had a child diagnosed with congenital malformations, developmental delay, or autism following the mother’s use of Depakote, or who has suffered liver failure, pancreas damage, or any of the other problems listed above following the use of Depakote, then seek legal counsel immediately.
For a free Depakote induced injury lawsuit consultation, please contact us or call toll free at 1-888-252-0048.
About Gilman Law LLP
Gilman Law LLP, a leading national law firm with offices in Florida and Massachusetts, has been recognized for delivering successful results to their clients across a broad range of claims stemming from consumer product injury, mass tort, and class action lawsuits. For over 33 years, the Gilman Law LLP team of highly experienced lawyers has earned renown for tireless work on behalf of their clients on many of today’s most challenging and important legal issues.