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Danger of AED exposure in utero evaluated

Posted in Depacon / Depakene / Depakote

There are many concerns regarding women of childbearing age who suffer from epilepsy.  There is a clear connection between antiepileptic drugs and their ability to cause harm to a developing fetus or embryo.  Reduced fertility and other menstrual cycle disorders have been linked with exposure to certain antiepileptic drugs.  In an article titled “Teratogenic Potential of the Newer Antiepileptic Drugs: What is Know and How Should This Influence Prescribing”, written from the Regional Epilepsy Center, University of Milan Medical School at the San Paolo Hospital in Milan, Italy, author Palmieri C. states “most AEDs induce the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymatic system, altering the metabolism of sex hormones and contributing to the failure of oral contraceptives. Pregnancy represents, in this context, the most critical period because of the well known teratogenic potential of all established AEDs.

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For most of these drugs, no specific patterns of malformations have been identified, although during the past few decades basic knowledge has been acquired, particularly concerning the mechanisms of AED-induced teratogenesis and related risk factors.”

Newer generations of AEDs have shown to have safer qualities than the older generation of antiepileptic drugs.  They have shown positive signs with what the body does to the drugs, making them more stable during pregnancy.  The newer generation has also shown to have a lower potential for interactions with other drugs, which can lead to unwanted complications.

Palmieri C. further explains “They are also less likely than the older AEDs to be metabolised to compounds that are teratogenic. Furthermore, most of them do not possess antifolate properties.”  AEDs may inhibit the absorption of Folic acid in the body.  Folic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in foods such sunflower seeds and collard greens. Many doctors would recommend their patients start a folic acid regiment before and during their pregnancy.

Some studies suggest that many of the newer antiepileptic drugs do not carry the folic acid depletion effect on the body, but It is important to be informed about the risks involved with any medications being taken and to know that the effects of antiepileptic drugs on the body can vary for individuals.

AED Birth Defect Lawsuits

Since Abbott Laboratories, the manufacturer of Depacon, one AED found time and again to be particularly dangerous because it contains sodium valproate, has failed time and again to notify patients and doctors appropriately of the risks Depacon use poses to developing babies, a number of Depacon lawsuits have been filed.

If you or a loved one used an AED such as Depacon during pregnancy and your child was born with a congenital malformation, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Depacon lawyers.

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