Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are associated with a wide range of side effects, and the increased risk of major congenital malformations (MCM) to the offspring of women exposed to AEDs during pregnancy is very well known. In a study called “Factors Influencing the Risk of Abnormal Pregnancy Outcome in Epileptic Women: A Multi-centre Prospective Study”, done by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, R.P. Steegers-Theunissen states “We studied pregnancy outcome in preconceptionally recruited epileptic and control women in a multi-centre prospective non-intervention study at two university hospitals and three general hospitals. We evaluated 225 singleton pregnancies: 119 pregnancies of epileptic women who received either antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) (n = 99) or not (n = 20), and 106 pregnancies of controls.
The main outcome measures were abnormal pregnancy outcome: major and minor congenital malformations, ectopic pregnancies, abortions; neonatal headcircumference; birth weight and birth length.”
The study showed that abnormal pregnancies and infants born with malformations were twice as likely with epileptic women, compared to the healthy controls, and there was a correlation found between the dosage of antiepileptic drugs given to the mother and the prevalence of abnormal pregnancies.
Author R.P. Steegers-Theunissen further explains “No significant effect in terms of the type, the number or the serum level of the AEDs could be established. The head circumference of infants of epileptic mothers was significantly smaller (0.7 (1.2, 0.28 cm) compared to controls. An effect on the outcome of pregnancy of maternal folate supplementation or of folate blood concentrations during the periconceptional period and first trimester of pregnancy could not be determined. The severity of maternal epilepsy and/or AED treatment influences pregnancy outcome.” Many doctors have their epileptic patients start a folic acid regiment before and during their pregnancy, and since AEDs have shown to inhibit the absorption of folic acid in the body, some studies suggest Folic acid treatments lower the risk of MCM in the offspring of epileptic women.
Since the companies that make some of these AEDs have failed to explain these risks to patients and doctors, a number of AED birth defect lawsuits have been filed. Abbott Laboratories, the manufacturer of Depacon, (a particularly dangerous AED containing sodium valproate) has failed time and again to make clear to women the risk Depacon poses to their developing babies, Depacon lawsuits are being filed around the world.
If you or a loved one used Depacon and your child was born with a birth defect, do not hesitate to contact our team of Depacon lawyers, for you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries your family has endured.
Our skilled team of Depacon lawyers has the experience, resources, and dedication to win the justice you deserve. Call today and see how we can help.