Depakote Lawsuits Spurred By Birth Defects and Other Side Effects
Women treated with Depakote for a bipolar disorder during the first three months of their pregnancies have a 1 in 20 risk of giving birth to a baby with a serious birth defect, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Women of childbearing potential should only use valproate (generic name for Depakote) if it is essential to manage their medical condition,” the FDA warned in an Oct. 3, 2009 alert. “Those who are not actively planning a pregnancy should use effective contraception, as birth defect risks are particularly high.”
These disturbing statistics stand in stark contrast to the a risk of only 1 in 1,500 chance of a child being born with a major birth defect to a mother not taking Depakote during her first trimester of pregnancy, according to the FDA.
Such data has triggered a flurry of depakote lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories, the maker of Depakote. In their cases against the company, attorneys for plaintiffs contend that Abbott allegedly knew about these possible side effects of the medication and failed to warn their clients. Abbott vehemently denies this.
Potential Birth Defects
Depakote is a drug that was developed by Abbott and introduced to the world in 1978 to treat such serious conditions as seizures caused by epilepsy and mania episodes suffered by patients with bipolar disorders.
A study conducted by Norway’s respected Haukeland University Hospital found that pregnant women taking Depakote has a 6 percent greater possibility of giving birth to a child with the following defects:
- Cleft palate: A birth defect that affects a child’s appearance and speech
- Spina bifida: A condition where an infant’s spinal cord or backbone doesn’t close before birth
- Polydactyly: A birth defect that causes the formation of extra toes or fingers on a child
- Craniosynostosis: A birth defect that causes the bones of the skull to close too soon
- Atrial septal defect: This defect is a hole found between the chambers of an infant’s heart
- Hypospadias: This birth defect causes an abnormality in the opening of a male infant’s urethra
Even More Side Effects
In addition to causing birth defects in the children being born by patients taking the drug, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that Depakote can actually lower a child’s IQs.
Recently, the FDA also identified a host of other possible side effects affecting patients who take Depakote.
- Thoughts of Suicide
- Liver Damage
Statute of Limitations
As a result of these studies and FDA warnings, a number of individuals have filed lawsuits as well as joined class-action lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of Depakote. Their outcomes remain to be seen, but one thing is certain: you can bet that Abbott will defend itself vigorously using the top corporate lawyers that money can buy.
If you or one of your loved ones took Depakote during the first trimester of a pregnancy and your child was born with one or more of the defects described above, or if you or they are suffering from one of the drug’s other dangerous side effects, isn’t it time for you seek legal representation before the statute of limitations runs out?While this time period varies from state to state, generally speaking, the stature of limitations for filing such a lawsuit expires anywhere from two to six years. Why not contact an attorney today for a free consultation? Visit Depakote Lawsuit for more information.
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