Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

FDA Warning: Depakote May Cause Serious Birth Defects

Published on May 24, 2013 at 8:00 am in Dangerous Drugs.

Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should consider their treatment options before accepting a prescription for Depakote, a branded version of valporic acid made by Abbott Laboratories in the United States. Studies show that the drug increases the risk of birth defects. It has also been linked to lower IQs in the children of mothers who took the drug while pregnant.

What Does Depakote Treat?

Doctors claim that Depakote is an effective treatment for several problems, including:

  • Migraines
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Epilepsy

Some researchers also believe that the drug may play a role in treating cancer and HIV.

That makes Depakote a potentially useful drug. Unfortunately, the side effects are significant for pregnant women and their babies.

Research Shows Concerning Side Effects

A recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry shows that the children of epileptic women who took Depakote while pregnant had higher instances of low IQ and autism. Not every child in the study had the same response to Depakote, but there was a statistically significant increase.

A lawsuit filed in Illinois also maintains that the drug causes serious birth defects, including heart defects, neural tube defects, and spina bifida, a condition that can cause the spinal cord to protrude through the bones in the spine. The lawsuit points to Scandinavian research showing that Depakote can cause malformations in the bones and heart of children whose mothers took the drug while pregnant.

Even the FDA has warned against pregnant women taking the drug. Previously, Depakote was listed as a Category D drug. That means the FDA believed the drug had benefits that outweighed its dangers. Recently, the FDA changed Depakote’s classification to a Category X drug. This classification means that the risks outweigh potential benefits.

The FDA recommends that women of child-bearing age avoid the drug or take it in combination with birth control pills that will prevent pregnancy.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Legal & Firm News

What You Need to Know About Business Litigation and Contingency Fees

If your business has ever been involved in a legal matter, you may be surprised to hear the two phrases together: business litigation and contingency fees. Traditionally, it has been more common to associate a contingency fee model with personal injury law involving individual parties rather than businesses. But this is no longer always the […]

Read More

Signs of PTSD in Military Service Members

It’s estimated that up to one-third of military service members suffer from PTSD. PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can develop following a traumatic event. This usually means an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury, or abuse. People who have seen combat, witnessed death, or experienced a life-threatening situation […]

Read More

AAA Conducts Study Examining Travel Before and During COVID-19

In 2021, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s New American Driving Survey revealed shifts in driving, traveling, and commuting patterns in the United States. The statistics gathered between July 2019 and December 2020 cannot be analyzed without consideration of COVID-19’s unignorable impact on the numbers—numbers showing marked differences from previous years’ findings.

Read More