The anti-seizure medication Depakote (generic: valproic acid) is responsible for “severe malformations” in 2,150 to 4,100 children in France since 1967, according to a preliminary study by French health authorities.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If your child or other loved one was born with a birth defect after the mother took Depakote during pregnancy, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
April 20, 2017 – The study, which was conducted by the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) and the national health insurance administration, found that women who took Depakote while pregnant were 4 times more likely to give birth to babies with major congenital defects.
“The study confirms the highly teratogenic nature of valproate,” said Mahmoud Zureik, scientific director of ANSM and a co-author of the report. “The figure of about 3,000 severe malformations is very high.”
Birth defects linked to Depakote include spina bifida — a neural tube defect that occurs when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) don’t form properly around part of the baby’s spinal cord before birth — as well as defects of the heart and genital organs.
The risk of autism and developmental problems was also found to be higher with Depakote, and will be quantified in a follow-up report during the second half of 2017.
Earlier studies have found that 30 to 40% of children exposed to valproic acid in the womb could be born with such disorders.
From 1967 to 2016, between 64,100 and 100,000 women took valproate during pregnancy, resulting in 41,200 to 75,300 live births, the study found. Most of the defects occurred in women who were being treated for epilepsy.
However, starting in the late 1970s, valproate started being prescribed in France to treat bipolar disorder. Bipolar women taking the drug were twice as likely to give birth to children with major congenital defects, according to the researchers.
The lower risk compared with women treated for epilepsy likely stems from the fact that doctors stopped prescribing valproate early in pregnancy for the treatment of bipolar.
“The risk of severe malformation is limited to the first two trimesters of pregnancy,” said Alain Weill, a researcher at the French health insurance administration and a co-author of the report.
Do I Have a Depakote Class Action Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Depakote lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new birth defects cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if your child was born with a Depakote birth defect, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.