There are many risks involved with antiepileptic drugs and the harmful effects AEDs may have on a developing fetus or embryo. There has been a lot of research done on the older generation of antiepileptic drugs and their adverse effects are relatively well known. The same cannot be said for the newer generation of antiepileptic medications. A lot more research is needed to be done on this subject in order for the medical world to have a clear understanding about all the teratoegenic effects these new drugs may possess.
Medications work and react differently for all people due to age, sex, health, and other genetic factors. The treatment of epilepsy is very different for women than for men. Chiba S., from the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, School of Medicine, Asahikawa Medical University, Midorigaoka Higashi, Hokkaido, Japan, wrote an article called “Comprehensive Management for Women With Epilepsy”, where the author states “It is known that estrogen facilitates while progesterone inhibits the generation of epileptic seizures. Due to the direct neuronal effects of estrogen, progesterone, and their metabolites, as well as the cyclic nature of sex hormone release, women are particularly susceptible to the effects of these hormones on seizure frequency and severity.”
This is especially troubling due to the fact that seizures during pregnancy can cause harm to both the mother and the developing fetus. Exposure to antiepileptic drugs can have a range of harmful effects that include an increased risk for major congenital malformations in offspring, reproductive endocrine disorders, inhibition of sexuality, and a decrease in oral contraceptive effects. Inhibiting the effects of oral contraceptives can lead to unplanned pregnancies which can create a whole new set of problems and worries for an epileptic woman.
Most doctors would recommend that only one antiepileptic drug be used during pregnancy. The use of multiple drugs during pregnancy has shown to dramatically increase the rate of major congenital malformations. Author Chiba S. further explains “the overall incidence of the congenital malformations in children born to women with epilepsy is approximately three times that of healthy women. The risk is elevated in all patients receiving AED monotherapy and further elevated in those receiving AED polytherapy compared to women without epilepsy.” Preconception counseling and appropriate treatment can decrease the risks involved with AEDs.
This article demonstrates that the manufacturers of AED drugs knew, or should have known, the risks associated with antiepileptic drugs. So, if you or a loved one used AEDs during pregnancy, you may be eligible to file an AED birth defects lawsuit for compensation for the injuries caused to your family through no fault of your own.
For more information, or a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of Depacon lawyers at the information below. We have the skills, resources, and experience required to win the justice you and your loved ones deserve.