UPDATE: (June 2017) – Depakote Maker AbbVie Ordered To Pay $15M To Boy Born With Spina Bifida.
“Pharmaceuticals giant AbbVie must pay $15 million to the family of a 10-year-old boy who was born with spina bifida after an Illinois jury found the company failed to properly warn doctors about the risk of birth defects associated with Depakote, a prescription drug used to treat bipolar and seizure disorders.“
UPDATE: (April 2017) – A new European study finds that pregnant women who took epilepsy drug Depakote were four times more likely to give birth to a baby with birth defects.
UPDATE: (Feb. 24, 2016) – On March 1 France will add a warning about an alarming number of reports involving birth defects linked to Depakote and other valproate-based drugs, indicating that hundreds of children in that country were born with birth defects after exposure to the epilepsy drug during pregnancy. French health officials conducted studies on Depakote (sold in France under the brand name Depakine) and discovered that about 450 babies developed severe malformations due to mothers taking Depakote during pregnancy.
Depakote is used to treat seizures, mania and migraine headaches. It has been prescribed to millions of people in a variety of forms, including extended release tablets (acts over a long period of time), delayed release tablets and sprinkle capsules (contains small beads of medicine that can be sprinkled over food). In recent years, however, concerns about the safety of the medication when taken by pregnant women have surfaced.
Due to ethical reasons, studies have not been conducted on pregnant women. However, data has shown an increase in the risk of certain serious birth defects in babies born to women who took Depakote during their pregnancies compared to women who were not treated with the medication at all. Some of the birth defects associated with Depakote are the following:
- Lower cognitive (IQ) test scores than children of mothers not taking Depakote.
- Neural tube defects (defects of the brain and spinal cord, such as spina bifida).
- Malformations of the heart and blood vessels.
- Craniofacial defects (abnormal formation of the face and skull; cleft lip; cleft palate).
In fact, it has been found that anticonvulsant drugs are one of the most common causes of harm to a fetus in utero. In support of these findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently released statements warning patients and health professionals of the potential dangerous side effects of Depakote.
If your child was born with complications and you were prescribed Depakote during your pregnancy, contact us online or call 1-866-252-3535.