There are many risks involved with epileptic women when they become pregnant, and complications can occur both during pregnancy or delivery. Many studies have found that children of epileptic women, particularly those exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) during pregnancy, have a higher chance of developing congenital malformations, perinatal mortality, and maturational delay. Perinatal mortality refers to the death of a fetus and maturational delay is also known as developmental language delay.
One recent AED safety study published by Olafsson E. of the Department of Neurology, at The National University Hospital of Iceland, reports that “We performed a historical population-based cohort study in Iceland to determine the prevalence of epilepsy among pregnant women, to identify pregnancy and delivery complications in women with epilepsy, and to determine the outcome of their pregnancies as compared with that in the general population of Iceland.” The study reviewed all women with epilepsy who gave birth over a 19 year period. Analysis of this data showed that 3.3 in 1000 pregnancies involved mothers with epilepsy. It was found that adverse events during pregnancies were not always higher for women with epilepsy, but the percentage of cesarean sections was found to be twice as high as that in the generation population.
When compared to the general population, perinatal mortality and average birth weight of children born from an epileptic mother stayed consistent in babies born to epileptic women, but the rate of major congenital malformations (MGM) was increased by 2.7 times when the mother was treated with AEDs during pregnancy. Antiepileptic drugs associated with a dramatic increase in risk for MGMs are those cotaining sodium valproate, the active ingredient in Depacon Depakene, and Depakote.
In summary, this population-based study in Iceland indicates that the rate of complications in children of mothers with epilepsy (who are not using AEDs during pregnancy) is similar to the rate of complications observed in the general population, but that the use of antiepileptic drugs by the mother during pregnancy can significantly increase the rate of major congenital malformations in the offspring.
Another peer-reviewed medical publication in which AEDs are shown to pose danger to developing children, this study could be used in a Depacon lawsuit to provide evidence that the manufacturer of Depacon (Abbott Laboratories) should have known the risks associated with its product and taken action to notify customers. Because Abbott Laboratories has failed to notify its customers of the risk for birth defects associated with Depacon, a number of Depacon lawsuits are currently being filed.
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 on your behalf. For more information on Depacon or Depacon lawsuits, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Depacon lawyers at the information provided below.
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