Abbott Laboratories is currently facing lawsuits alleging that Depakote can put unborn children at risk for serious birth defects if mothers take the drug while pregnant. Of all antiepileptic drugs, Depakote is the most likely to cause serious malformations in unborn children, according to the lawsuits. Despite allegedly knowing that Depakote has been linked to heart defects, developmental delays and certain deformities, lawsuits claim that Abbott did not take proper steps to warn doctors and women about these risks.
Did you take Depakote while pregnant and deliver a child with birth defects? Do you have questions about your legal rights? If so, fill out our free case review form today for more information. You may be entitled to compensation.
Mothers who have filed lawsuits against Abbot allege that their children were born with one or more of the following birth defects:
These women claim Abbot is responsible for their children’s injuries because:
The mothers are seeking compensation for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earnings and past and future medical bills.
Your lawyer will typically only charge you if he or she wins your case. If so, he or she will collect a percentage of your final verdict or settlement.
No, the Depakote lawsuits will not proceed as a class action. Women who delivered children with birth defects after using the antiepileptic drug will have to file individual lawsuits with their own attorneys.
Several studies have found that the active ingredient in Depakote, valproate sodium, may cause children to be born with birth defects. According to these studies, the risk of birth defects is especially high if mothers took the drug during their first trimester of pregnancy, as this is when crucial formations such as closure of the neural tube occur.
The earliest reported study on birth defects in children exposed to valproate sodium was published in 1995. According to that study, the incidence rate of neural tube defects was ten times greater in mothers taking Depakote compared to mothers taking different antiepileptic drugs.
In 2009, the FDA announced it would be changing the labels for valproate sodium-based drugs to include the risks of major birth defects such as craniofacial defects and cardiovascular malformations. According to the FDA, the label change was spurred by research from the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry, which found a sharp increase in the number of birth defects in children exposed to valproate sodium-based drugs.
According to the NAAED, 1 in 1,500 children in the United States are born with neural tube defects, but this risk increases to 1 in 20 if the child is exposed to valproate sodium during the first 12 weeks of development. Furthermore, when compared to other antiepileptic drugs, valproate sodium-based drugs were associated with four times as many children being born with neural tube defects.
In separate notices, the FDA has also warned women that Depakote may cause developmental delays and/or lower cognitive scores. Most recently, the FDA changed Depakote’s pregnancy category for the prevention of migraines from a “D” to an “X,” meaning that the risk of its use in pregnant women clearly outweighs any possible benefit.
If you delivered a child with birth defects after taking Depakote, you may be able to seek compensation for past and future medical bills and pain and suffering. If you have questions about your legal options or would like help filing a lawsuit, fill out our free case review form today.