Women who have taken or are currently taking Depakote while pregnant may be entitled to significant compensation if they have given birth to a baby that has suffered congenital defects or a lower IQ as a result of the drug’s dangerous side effects. Drug manufacturers are obligated to protect consumers from unreasonable risks of injury or death when using their products, especially when the unintended effects may harm or cause the death of an unborn fetus. If you or a loved one has taken Depakote, Louisville, KY Depakote lawyer Tad Thomas can investigate your case and take on the pharmaceutical company responsible for the tragic losses you and your child have suffered.
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What is Depakote?
Depakote is the branded version of valporic acid, a prescription drug manufactured in the United States by Abbott Laboratories to treat several health issues including epilepsy and bipolar disorder.
Serious Birth Injuries Linked to Depakote
In May 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reclassified the anti-seizure medication Depakote as a Category X drug for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant after studies found that the drug increased the risk of birth defects and lowered IQs in children exposed to the drug while their mothers were pregnant.
The most harmful side effects of Depakote occur during pregnancy and may cause the following injuries to an unborn fetus:
- Spina Bifida
- Cleft palate or lip
- Facial dysmorphism
- Heart malformations
- Impaired cognitive development
- Fetal death
In addition to birth defects, women who take the anti-seizure medication are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cysts that may inhibit pregnancy, also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
In 2012, Abbott Laboratories pleaded guilty to charges that the pharmaceutical giant had been marketing Depakote for “off-label” uses that had not been approved by the FDA, including treating migraines, schizophrenia, and elderly patients with dementia. While doctors are not prohibited from prescribing medications for any purpose, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to market drugs for health issues that are not approved by the FDA.
Taking on a powerful pharmaceutical company can be complex and overwhelming, but with proper representation, an experienced pharmaceutical litigation lawyer will defend your rights. Negligent manufacturers can be held accountable for the injuries and fatalities their drugs inflict on consumers.
Despite the FDA’s warnings about the risks associated with Depakote, doctors continue to prescribe the drug to treat women with bipolar disorder, seizures, and the more prevalent ailment, migraine headaches. However, in many cases when a female patient becomes pregnant, the same doctors may fail to regulate their patient’s dosages and needlessly expose the unborn fetus to the harmful effects of Depakote.
Negligent treatment or medical errors can have tragic consequences and leave expecting mothers feeling betrayed and helpless. Protect your rights and those of your family with the help of an attorney who can accurately determine what happened and whether you should take legal action. If you believe your child has suffered congenital defects or learning disability, you deserve answers.
If your child suffers from the dangerous side effects of Depakote, it is important that you understand your legal rights and act immediately. You may be eligible for financial compensation for damages, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, medical expenses and the expected costs of future treatment. However, this is subject to a statute of limitations. At Thomas Law Offices, we will evaluate your circumstances and build the strongest case possible to help you gain the restitution you and your family need. For a free consultation, contact us today.