Future studies are in high demand to accurately understand the fetus- and embryo-damaging capabilities of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Much research has been done on older antiepileptic drugs, but there has been little research done on the newer generations of AEDs. The aim of an article titled “The Australian Register of Antiepileptic Drugs in Pregnancy: the First 1002 Pregnancies”, written from the Department of Medicine, Monash University and Medical Centre, Clayton, Victoria, Australia, was to call attention to the Australian Register of the risks AEDs pose to developing babies. The study analyzed data collected by the Register between 1999 and December 2006 and contained data on 1002 pregnant epileptic women treated with antiepileptic medications.
Author Vajda FJ. Explains the study contained “992 (pregnancies) with known outcomes, 83 not exposed to AEDs in at least their first trimester, and 30 prescribed AEDs for indications other than epilepsy. Statistically significant findings included more frequent folate supplementation and decreased alcohol intake during pregnancy in women with epilepsy; a dose-related increased risk of fetal malformation associated with valproate therapy; a tendency towards lower birthweights in live-born malformed offspring; and a substantially reduced decreased risk of seizures in pregnancy with one year seizure freedom before pregnancy.” (emphasis added)
Larger, multi-center studies are required to produce substantial information that can be compared to the general population, increasing the accuracy of these tests. The authors of the above study believe the Register has produced important information about the effects of AEDs on pregnant epileptic women and will help with the management of future pregnancies. Multiple studies have shown the risks of major congenital malformations (MCMs) are greatly increased with the exposure of antiepileptic drugs to a fetus or embryo. While it is widely acknowledged that the implementation of a monotherapy program puts the offspring at less of a risk for major congenital malformations than polytherapy, women with poorly controlled epilepsy may have no other option than to be on a polytherapy program.
Due to the facts that valproate (the active ingredient in Depacon Depakene, and Depakote) has been time and again linked with an increased risk for birth defects, and that the manufacturer of these products has failed to warn users of these risks, Depacon lawsuits are currently being filed around the country.
If you or a loved one used Depacon and your child was born with a birth defect, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Depacon lawyers for a free, no-obligation case consultation.
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