Depakote ER (divalproex sodium) is a drug produced by AbbVie Inc. designed to treat many conditions such as, seizures, bipolar disorder, and migraine headaches. Depakote has proved to cause several severe complications. Now new lawsuits are suggesting that pregnant women are not being adequately warned about the risks of continuing to take the drug while pregnant.
Depakote has a list of negative side effects including, loss of consciousness, irregular heartbeat, and of most concern, the harm of a fetus during pregnancy. Many lawsuits against this drug indicate that doctors were not properly informed of the side effects the drug could have on their patients. RXList.com states that Depakote is not recommended for pregnant women but that women should continue taking the drug if they are taking it for serious conditions.
It has been proven that the drug may harm a fetus, but most product warning labels state, “Since untreated seizures are a serious condition that can harm both a pregnant woman and her fetus, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by a doctor.” This warning may make sense to the manufacturers of the drug, but for pregnant women who are taking Depakote, it can indeed seem conflicting. This particular warning doesn’t also state what harm may come to an unborn child.
Some pregnant women who have taken this drug claim it was the cause of their child’s birth defect. Christina Raquel, mother of Stevie Gonzalez, took the drug while pregnant and alleged in a lawsuit against AbbVie Inc. that the drug caused her son’s birth defect. Gonzalez was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that is caused by the bones of the spine not forming properly around the baby’s spinal cord. Raquel claimed she was not warned about the risk of birth defects when her doctor prescribed her Depakote for bipolar disorder. Gonzalez was awarded $15 million.
According to reuters.com, “About 695 injury claims related to Depakote are pending in federal and state courts”. It has been alleged numerous times that AbbVie did not warn doctors about the serious side effects of the drug. Lawsuits against the company are still being settled, in 2015, a Missouri state court jury awarded 24 plaintiffs $38 million,” according to reuters.com.
If you or someone you love has a child who was born with a birth defect and you feel Depakote may have played a role, you should contact an experienced Depakote birth injury lawyer today. With the help of a skilled product liability lawyer, you can have your voice be heard and ensure AbbVie Inc. warns users and doctors alike about the dangers of taking this drug while pregnant. For more information, contact Thomas Law Offices for a free consultation.