According to new research, children exposed to the controversial anticonvulsant drug Depakote during pregnancy may experience developmental delays and other significant problems, when compared to children exposed to another anticonvulsant drug called Keppra. In the study, published in the medical journal Neurology, researchers from the U.K. found that preschool-age children born to women who took Depakote while pregnant showed delayed language and motor development, compared to children whose mothers took Keppra during pregnancy. If your child has suffered from a serious birth defect or delays in mental development, and you believe side effects of Depakote to be the cause, contact a product liability lawyer in your area to explore your possible compensation options.
During the anti-epileptic study, researchers examined the development levels of children between the ages of three and four and a half, focusing specifically on their language skills and mental development. They concluded that the children exposed to Depakote in utero scored a whopping 15.8 points lower on gross motor skill testing than those children exposed to Keppra during pregnancy. The first group of children also scored 9.5 points below the second group for expressive language abilities and 6.4 points lower on average when it came to comprehension language abilities.
Depakote (valproic acid) garnered approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1978 as a treatment for certain types of seizures associated with epilepsy, and was later approved as a treatment for migraine headaches. Although Depakote has since become one of the best-selling anticonvulsant drugs on the market, serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the medication, particularly when taken during pregnancy. Mounting research has identified Depakote use in pregnancy as a potential risk factor for serious birth defects among children, including spina bifida, malformed limbs, cleft palate and heart defects, especially when the drug is taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.
In light of these birth defect risks, the FDA in 2006 added a black box warning to the Depakote label, warning consumers about the potential risk of congenital malformations, after a study found that 20% of pregnant women who gave birth while taking Depakote had a child with one or more birth defects. In May 2013, federal regulators established new regulations for Depakote use in pregnancy, contraindicating the drug for pregnant women as a treatment for migraines, which is a popular use of the medication, and elevated the pregnancy category from class D to class X for this particular treatment.
As more and more consumers learn about the birth defect risks tied to Depakote, product liability lawsuits will continue to be filed against Depakote maker Abbott Laboratories. Among the allegations raised in complaints already brought against Abbott are claims that the drug company failed to adequately research the medication or provide consumers with accurate information about the risks associated with using the drug during pregnancy. If you took Depakote while pregnant and your child was born with spina bifida or another serious birth defect, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by a dangerous drug, and can put you in touch with an experienced Depakote attorney in your area.
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Source: http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2014/01/08/WNL.0000000000000030[/box]