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Did you take the anti-seizure prescription medication Depakote when you were pregnant? Was your child born with a birth defect?

If you were prescribed Depakote before 2006 and your child has spina bifida or a cleft palate birth defect, contact Edgar Snyder & Associates right away for a free legal consultation. You may have a dangerous drug case.

Depakote (Valproic Acid) May Cause Spina Bifida or Other Birth Defects

May 2010 – In a recent study, researchers found that Depakote's side effects could affect pregnant women and their babies as early as the first trimester. This is especially dangerous, because by the time patients discover they are pregnant, it could be too late to stop taking the drug to avoid birth defects.

The study comes just five months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about Depakote and its dangerous side effects. The notice alerted doctors and patients about the potential increased risk of birth injuries and birth defects when women take Depakote or related products while pregnant – specifically neural tube defects (defects of the brain and spinal cord), craniofacial defects (cleft palate), and cardiovascular defects (abnormally formed heart or blood vessels).

Depakote – Treatments, Side Effects, and Black Box Warnings

Depakote, also known as valproic acid, is a prescription medication manufactured by Abbott Laboratories used to treat various types of seizure disorders, including epilepsy. It's also used to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorders and prevent migraine headaches.

Many patients who take anti-seizure medications find that they lose their effectiveness over time and switch to other similar medications – eventually taking Depakote. For this reason, millions of people have taken the drug since it was originally approved by the FDA in 1983.

In 2006, the FDA added a Black Box Warning about the potential risk of Depakote birth defects after a study found that 20 percent of pregnant mothers who gave birth while on Depakote had a child with malformations or a birth defect. The medication often appears as the most dangerous drug in its class because of its side effects.

Several other studies, including one from the New England Journal of Medicine that children exposed to Depakote while still in the womb are twice as likely to test within the range associated with mental retardation at the ages of two to three years old. Although the study won't be considered complete until the children tested reach the age of six, research shows that toddlers exposed to Depakote score significantly lower on I.Q. tests than children who don't come into contact with the drug.

Other side effects for adults taking Depakote include:

  • Liver failure (especially in children under two years old)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Unexplained weakness with vomiting, confusion, or fainting
  • Bloody urine
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash
  • Flu symptoms including fever, chills, and body aches
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there)
  • Extreme drowsiness or lack of coordination
  • Double vision or back-and-forth movement of the eyes

Call your doctor right away if you experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, low fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). These symptoms could be signs of liver damage or pancreatitis.

Women who are pregnant should not take Depakote. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant while on the medication. People taking Depakote should avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase the risk of serious side effects.

What to Do if You Were Prescribed Depakote Before 2006 and Your Child Was Born With a Birth Defect

As always, if you or your child is experiencing any health problems or complications while taking Depakote, seek medical treatment right away. Then, contact Edgar Snyder & Associates to find out if you have a case.

Since 1982, our highly rated law firm has helped hundreds of people who have suffered serious side effects from a medication that was supposed to help them – not harm them or the ones they love. Our experienced Pennsylvania attorneys have the ability to fight the big pharmaceutical companies that make, sell, and distribute dangerous drugs.

From the moment you hire us, we give you peace of mind and fight to get you the money you deserve.

And remember, there's never a fee unless we get money for you, so you have nothing to lose.

Find Out if You Have a Dangerous Drug Case Now

If your child is suffering because of birth defects that were caused when you took Depakote, contact Edgar Snyder & Associates right away.

You may have a case, but you need to act now. There are time limits to file a dangerous drug claim.

Call us at 1-866-943-3427, or fill out the form at the top right of this webpage for a free legal consultation – no strings attached. It's absolutely free, and there's no obligation to use our services. Contact us seven days a week, day or night.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states. In addition, all drug-related litigation involves co-counsel.
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