In 2006, GK Motamedi et al. published a highly-informative paper concerning neurodevelopmental hazards resulting from in utero exposure to antiepileptic drugs. In their paper, titled “Anti-epileptic drugs and neurodevelopment” Motamedi et al. (2006) found that during testing, certain drugs such as Valproate and Phenobarbital have been linked to an increase of major congenital malformations during pregnancy (MCMs). Valproate, which is an anticonvulsant commonly used in the treatment of epilepsy, anorexia nervosa, and anxiety disorders, has been linked with the highest probability of causing malformations to and embryo or fetus.
Further testing is needed to determine the long-term effects on cognition and behavior in exposed children. It has also been documented that the majority of children born to women with epilepsy are healthy, and this may partially be due by the increased awareness of the long-term effects of in utero exposure anti-epileptic drugs. In newer studies done on animals during a period that corresponds to the human third trimester, evidence suggests a connection between in utero AEDs and neuronal apoptosis. “Neuronal apoptosis” is programmed cell death in neurons.
These findings are worrying due to the fact they increase the risk of MCMs. Further and more in depth clinical trials are needed to better understand the long-term neurodevelopmental effects of in utero exposure to AEDs. The reduced appearance of neurotrophins and lower levels of certain proteins in the brain are associated with Neuronal death. With proper treatment, the risks of neuronal death can be significantly reduced.
Because Abbott Laboratories, Inc., the manufacturer of an AED containing valproate marketed under the brand name “Depacon” (also “Depakene,” and “Depakote”) has failed to warn its customers of the risks associated with birth defects in sufficient time, a number of Depacon lawsuits are currently being filed.
If you used Depacon and your child was born with a birth defect, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. For more information about Depacon or Depacon lawsuits, please contact our team at the information provided below.