January 24, 2013 – A new study has determined that Abbott Pharmaceuticals’ controversial anti-epileptic drug Depakote (generic: divalproex sodium) can cause lowered IQ’s and other cognitive deficiencies in children born to mothers who take the drug during pregnancy. Specifically, the research found that babies exposed to Depakote in the womb had IQ’s that were seven to 10 points lower than other children at age six, as well as reduced language skills and memory capacity. In addition to cognitive impairment, the maternal use of Depakote during pregnancy has been linked to neural tube defects, craniofacial abnormalities and cardiovascular malformations.
Free Depakote Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has a child who was born with a birth defect after the mother took Depakote during pregnancy, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of Depakote and we can help.
What’s the problem?
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta and published in the January 22 online edition of The Lancet Neurology, included a cohort of 224 test subjects, and found that children exposed to Depakote in the womb had less verbal and memory abilities than children born to mothers who took other anti-epileptic medications during pregnancy. The research determined that the severity of these deficiencies were dose-specific, meaning that the more Depakote the mother took while pregnant, the lower the child’s I.Q. and other cognitive abilities.
“High doses of valproate were negatively associated with IQ, verbal ability, non-verbal ability, memory, and executive function, but other antiepileptic drugs were not,” the researchers determined.
Manufactured and marketed by Abbott Pharmaceuticals, Depakote was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1978 for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. Depakote is sold as a tablet, while other forms of valproate are available in liquid syrup (Depakene), and as an intravenous injection (Depacon).
Unfortunately, despite its considerable effectiveness as an anti-epileptic medication, Depakote has been found to have the ability to cause a number of severe birth defects in babies born to mothers who take the drug while pregnant. The risk of defects is highest when Depakote is taken during the first 28 days of pregnancy, a time when neural tube closure and other critical formations are taking place. Birth defects linked to Depakote have been reported to include:
- Decreased I.Q.
- Reduced language skills
- Memory deficiencies
- Neural tube defects
- Craniofacial defects
- Cardiovascular malformations
- Other major birth defects
In courthouses around the country, Abbott faces a growing number of lawsuits filed on behalf of children born with these types of defects after the mother took Depakote in pregnancy. Depakote birth defect lawsuits allege that Abbott failed to adequately warn the public and medical communities about the risks involved when pregnant women use Depakote.
In May 2012, Abbott agreed to pay $1.6 billion to the Justice Department for marketing Depakote for the treatment of schizophrenia, and to pacify elderly dementia patients. Depakote was neither tested nor approved by the U.S. Food & Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for these purposes, and, when used in these capacities, is considered ‘off-label.’ Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs off label when they feel the potential benefits outweigh the risks, but it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote their products for off-label purposes.
Do I Have a Depakote Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Depakote lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Depakote birth defect cases in all 50 states.
Free Depakote Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has a child who was born with a birth defect after the mother took Depakote during pregnancy, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Depakote birth defects suit and we can help.