Titled “Cognitive function at 3 years of age after fetal exposure to antiepileptic drugs.”, an article by K.J. Meador and a team from Emory University published in the April, 2009 edition of New England Journal of Medicine provides further insight into the adverse effects of prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs containing valproate, the active chemical in Depacon, Depakene, and Depakote (Abbott Laboratories, Inc.)

Providing background, Meador states, “Fetal exposure of animals to antiepileptic drugs at doses lower than those required to produce congenital malformations can produce cognitive and behavioral abnormalities, but cognitive effects of fetal exposure of humans to antiepileptic drugs are uncertain.”

Studying 309 children exposed to either carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, or valproate in utero, the team evaluated cognitive outcomes at three years of age.  Results showed that “At 3 years of age, children who had been exposed to valproate in utero had significantly lower IQ scores than those who had been exposed to other antiepileptic drugs.”

“On average, children exposed to valproate had an IQ score 9 points lower than the score of those exposed to lamotrigine (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.1 to 14.6; P=0.009), 7 points lower than the score of those exposed to phenytoin (95% CI, 0.2 to 14.0; P=0.04), and 6 points lower than the score of those exposed to carbamazepine (95% CI, 0.6 to 12.0; P=0.04).”

It was also determined that “The association between valproate use and IQ was dose dependent”, meaning that if children were exposed to more valproate in pregnancy, IQ scores were lower.  Accordingly, the team’s conclusions were as follows: “In utero exposure to valproate, as compared with other commonly used antiepileptic drugs, is associated with an increased risk of impaired cognitive function at 3 years of age. This finding supports a recommendation that valproate not be used as a first-choice drug in women of childbearing potential.” (emphasis added)

Because Abbott Laboratories, Inc. has failed time and again to provide sufficient warning of adverse birth outcomes after prenatal Depacon exposure, Depacon birth defect lawsuits have been filed in great number around the world.

If you or a loved one used Depacon, Depakote, or Depakene and gave birth to a child with a birth defect or who had an otherwise poor birth outcome, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.  For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of Depacon birth defect lawyers at the information provided below.  We have the compassion, experience, and resources required to win the justice you deserve.  Call today and see how we can help.

(855) 452 – 5528


Our Depacon Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have any questions about Depacon.