Treatment strategies for effect control over seizures vary for every individual. A patient should only be prescribed antiepileptic medications after a definitive diagnosis of epilepsy has been made and recurrence rates after a first seizure may vary from 26 and 71 percent. Author DM Treiman of the Neurology Service at DVA West Los Angeles Medical Center in California, wrote an article titled “Current Treatment Strategies in Selected Situations in Epilepsy”, where he states “Although several AEDs have been shown to be anti-epileptogenic in animal models, no data yet prove the efficacy of any AED in preventing the development of post-traumatic or postoperative epilepsy. Therefore, there is no rational basis for prophylactic treatment with AEDs.”
People over the age of 50 have an increased risk of epilepsy and some physiological changes may increase unwanted effects when these people are exposed to AEDs. The ways in which antiepileptic drugs interact with the body can be very complicated and needs to be under constant supervision when prescribed to elderly people. Women experience many physiological changes during pregnancy which may increase or decrease their epileptic episodes.
There is a clear connection between AEDs and their ability to cause harm to a developing fetus. The greater amount of AEDs taken during a woman’s pregnancy increases the risk of her offspring developing major congenital malformations. Treiman further explains “The risk of fetal malformations is approximately double in children born to mothers with epilepsy compared with children born to nonepileptic mothers. The risk is dose-dependent and increases with the number of AEDs. All AEDs may cause fetal malformations; valproate and carbamazepine increase the risk of spina bifida. Nonetheless, the best AED for a woman who wants to become pregnant is the AED that best controls her seizures, which should be given at the lowest possible effective dose. Discontinuation of AEDs can be considered after 2-4 years of complete seizure control. Most of the risk of relapse occurs within the first 6 months.”
Most doctors would recommend the use only one drug during the pregnancy of a epileptic women. However, this may not always be possible due to the fact that some women do not have epilepsy that can be effectively controlled with only one medication.
Due to the fact that Abbott Laboratories, the manufacturer of Depacon Depakene, and Depakote (AEDs containing sodium valproate, highly linked to birth defects) has time and again failed to make the risks for birth defects clear to patients and doctors alike, a number of Depacon birth defect lawsuits have been filed.
If you or a loved one used Depacon during pregnancy and your child was born with a birth defect, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Depacon lawyers, for you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.