Tegretol Spina Bifida Lawsuit - Consumer Justice Foundation

Tegretol Spina Bifida Lawsuit

Written by Faith Anderson on June 21, 2012
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Tegretol and Pregnancy Risks

Tegretol is an anticonvulsant medication developed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals that is commonly used to treat seizures associated with epilepsy, the manic phase of bipolar disorder and neuropathic (nerve) pain. The active ingredient in Tegretol is carbamazepine, and the medication has been available in the United States since it was approved by the FDA in 1974. Despite its popularity though, Tegretol may be linked to life-threatening side effects like Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), and use during pregnancy has been associated with birth defects.

Walmart has indicated that it did not warn the couple about the risk of birth defects with Tegretol because the manufacturers of the medication did not include a warning for pregnant women in the materials provided to Walmart. According to Walmart, the only pregnancy warning that was included with Tegretol suggested that it may decrease the effectiveness of birth control. Walmart is now pursuing compensation from the drug company for what it paid to the Pendinos in the spina bifida lawsuit.

Tegretol Side Effect Studies

Previous studies have concluded that Tegretol use during pregnancy may increase a child’s risk of developing spina bifida, a malformation involving the spinal cord in which some vertebrae are not fully fused during fetal development. The birth defect is serious and may allow portions of the spinal cord to protrude through the opening in the bones, leading to severe life-long complications for affected children. In 2001, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in which researchers found that 20.6% of babies exposed to one anticonvulsant drug like Tegretol in utero were born with major birth defects, compared to 28% of babies exposed to two or more anticonvulsants, and 8.5% of unexposed babies. Of the women who took only one anticonvulsant, 58 took Tegretol.

Tegretol Attorneys for Spina Bifida Birth Defects

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2010, children born to women who used Tegretol (carbamazepine) while pregnant were 2.6 times more likely to be born with spina bifida, compared to women who did not take the epilepsy medication. Overall, 3.3% of women who took Tegretol gave birth to babies with spina bifida. If you took Tegretol while pregnant and your baby was born with spina bifida or another serious birth defect, contact a qualified Tegretol lawyer to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a birth defect lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals in order to pursue financial compensation for your child’s injuries, medical bills and long-term care.

Posted Under: Legal
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