In 2007, a team of researchers led by U. Kini et al. set out to prove whether or not the genetics played a role in elevating the the observed risk for major congenital malformations in children exposed to antiepileptic drugs in utero.  That is, “Can an epileptic mother’s genes change the likelihood that her child will be born with birth defects, if she chooses to use antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy?  Do certain genes make already-dangerous drugs worse?”

The U. Kini et al. (2007) study sought to evaluate whether or not a certain polymorphism (abnormality) in the MTHFR gene, in addition to the presence of antiepileptic drugs, contributed to a negative developmental outlook.

The main antiepileptic drug studied was sodium valproate, because “sodium valproate (VPA) was the most commonly used drug and was associated with the highest rate of malformations (9.6%).”

Sodium valproate is the active ingredient in antiepileptic drugs, such as Depacon, Depakene, and Depakote.  Many studies have shown that maternal use of Depacon during pregnancy greatly raises the risk her children face for being born with one of a range of life-threatening birth defects of the heart, brain, and skull.

To put it simply, Kini’s research did not illuminate a significant connection between the MTHFR gene and birth defects.  His team concluded that although some children whose mothers used AEDs (particularly sodium valproate) and had this specific genetic defect, it is likely that harms caused by sodium valproate “are mediated through other mechanisms.”

Due to the fact that the manufacturer of Depacon, Abbott Laboratories, did not make the risks of Depacon use clear, a number of Depacon lawsuits have been filed around the country.  If you or a loved one used Depacon and your child was born with a birth defect, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for undue injury to your family.

For more information on Depacon, please feel free to contact our team of Depacon lawyers by phone at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at

Our Depacon Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have any questions about Depacon.