Around 90 percent of all epileptic women who are on antiepileptic drugs will bear children healthy children with no congenital malformations. However, antiepileptic drugs do have the ability to cause harm to a developing fetus or embryo and congenital malformations are seen in a higher rate with women exposed to these drugs than is seen in the general population. [Read more on the connection between epilepsy medicine and cardiovascular birth defects.]
A 1992 article titled “Is There a Genetic Relationship Between Epilepsy and Birth Defects?”, written from the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center, in New York City by one M. Durner states, “This risk has been attributed mostly to teratogenic effects of antiepileptic drugs, but other risk factors have been suggested, such as epilepsy, per se, or some underlying genetic defects associated with epilepsy. Previous studies do not answer the question of whether genetic factors contribute to the high risk of malformations in children of epileptic parents.”
Studies done on patients and their families with neurological birth defects, cleft lip, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other congenital malformations, shows evidence for the possible existence of a gene on chromosome 6 that may be responsible for these conditions. XIIIa is a factor linked to CL and CP but it is not identical with or linked to a gene for generalized epilepsy. Durner further states that “The short arm of chromosome 6 also contains a human homologue of the mouse t-complex. Alterations of the mouse t-complex are involved in defects of neural-crest development in mice. Relationships between a human homologue of the mouse t-complex, epilepsy, and birth defects have yet to be proven.”
Antiepileptic drugs have shown to inhibit the absorption of folic acid in the body and may have been shown to interfere with some contraception methods. This loss of folic acid absorption in the body may increase the risks of offspring developing major congenital malformations, so doctors may start their epileptic patients on a folic acid regiment during their pregnancies to counteract this adverse effect.
Due to the frequently-observed link between AED use and birth defects and the rarity of adequate warning label updates by AED manufacturers, a number of AED birth defect lawsuits have been filed. If you or a loved one used an AED during pregnancy and your child was born with a birth defect, you too may be entitled to significant financial compensation for the undue injury endured by your family. Right now, an AED frequently implicated in drug litigation is Depacon.
For a free case consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Depacon birth defect lawyers. We have the experience, resources, and skill required to bring you the justice you deserve, even from companies as large as Abbott Laboratories, the manufacturer of the dangerous, sodium valproate-containing, Depacon.