More than 30 years after the link between Depakote (valproate) and birth defects was first established, many pregnant women are still unaware of the risks involved with using the drug.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If your child or other loved one was born with a birth defect after the mother took Depakote in pregnancy, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
September 27, 2017 – Use of valproate during the 1st trimester of pregnancy has been linked to a 3-5% increased risk of neural tube defects, as well as an increased risk of heart, limb and genital malformations. Prenatal exposure to valproate may also result in lower IQ and increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), studies have found. However, despite these risks, pregnant women across the U.S. and around the world continue to be prescribed Depakote in alarming numbers.
For a recent study reviewed in Medscape, researchers investigated major birth defects linked to the use of valproic acid during pregnancy, using data from SNIIRAM (French National Health Insurance Information System) from 2011 to 2015. The cohort included 2,323 mothers who took the medicine when pregnant: 1345 for epilepsy and 978 for bipolar disorder.
The study found the overall risk of having a child with a defect is raised about 2-fold in women with bipolar disorder who took Depakote during pregnancy; however, if you look at specific defects, the risk is dramatically higher: hypospadias (17.5% vs. 4.8%) and craniostenosis (4.2% vs. 0.4%).
As a result of these findings, EMA made the following recommendations regarding the use of Depakote on pregnant women:
- If possible, an alternative to valproic acid should be used in women of reproductive age
- If valproic acid is the only option, women should use effective contraception and should be closely supervised.
- Doctors who prescribe valproic acid to women of reproductive age must review the reproductive risks associated with this drug and must clearly explain the reason for choosing valproic acid over other options.
- Women taking valproic acid should also take 4mg of folic acid daily to reduce the risk of birth defects in the setting of unplanned pregnancy.
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 has been harmed by the side effects of Depakote, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.