Depakote is the brand name of the drug Divalproex Sodium in the U.S. This anti-convulsant prescription drug was developed to treat migraines, seizures due to depression, anxiety, epilepsy, and other problems relating to mental health, but most especially, manic-depression or bipolar disorder. Though Depakote served as an effective treatment for some ailments and disorders, it was also linked to serious side-effects that can cause lasting health problems.
Depakote can cause a variety of unintended health problems beyond the typically mild side-effects. Most notably, women who took Depakote during pregnancy have given birth to babies with severe birth defects. The FDA has released warnings regarding the link between Depakote and birth injuries, including:
- Spina bifida and other spinal defects
- Malformation of face or skull
- Malformation of cardiovascular system
- Brain defects
- Fetal valproate syndrome, a condition that causes the development of facial deformities in children
- Infantile Scoliosis, which is case when this disease develops during infancy or early childhood
Due to the threats to health Depakote is linked to, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety alert on May 6, 2013, where it advised health care professionals and women that the anti-seizure medication valproate sodium and related products, valproic acid and divalproex sodium, are contraindicated and should not be taken by pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches. The FDA will also be issuing stronger warnings about use of Depakote during pregnancy: from category “D” (the potential benefit of the drug in pregnant women may be acceptable despite its potential risks) warnings will be changed to “X” (the risk of use in pregnant women clearly outweighs any possible benefit of the drug).
Fetal valproate syndrome, which is characterized by distinct facial dysmorphism, can result to cleft palate, cleft lip, deformed ears, facial asymmetries, developmental delay, eyes spaced too far apart or too near each other, mismatched eye colors and others. These deformities definitely have an impact in the life of a child, affecting his or her level of confidence, happiness and health.
Medical treatment to correct the deformity may be available, but such treatment is long and costly. Thus, as parents or guardians of children suffering from facial dysmorphism you need to know that you do not need to suffer from the costly medical treatment required; you can also possibly get compensation for the financial losses you have already suffered due to the harm done. By filing a Depakote birth defects lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories Inc., this drug’s manufacturer, you may be able to avail of the financial compensation that you deserve.Read More