In recent years, a number of studies have shown that prenatal exposure to sodium valproate (the active ingredient in epilepsy drugs Depacon, Depakene, and Depakote) is linked to increased risk for birth defects. Here, I’ll summarize one such study, titled “Differential effects of antiepileptic drugs on neonatal outcomes.” by P.B. Pennell and a team from Harvard Medical School that originally appeared in the August, 2012 edition of Epilepsy and Behavior.
Pennell states, “Offspring of women with epilepsy (WWE) on AEDs are at increased risks for major congenital malformations and reduced cognition”, and “They may be at risk for other adverse neonatal outcomes.”
For this study, “Women with epilepsy on carbamazepine (CBZ), lamotrigine (LTG), phenytoin (PHT), or valproate (VPA) monotherapy were enrolled in a prospective, observational, multicenter study of the neurodevelopmental effects of AEDs.”
Results showed that the risk for “small for gestational age (SGA) was higher for VPA vs. PHT, VPA vs. LTG, and CBZ vs. PHT”, meaning that Depakote (etc.) was linked to birth defects.
The team also found that “Microcephaly rates were elevated to 12% for all newborns and at 12 months old, but normalized by age 24 months” and “Reduced Apgar scores occurred more frequently in the VPA and PHT groups at 1 min, but scores were near normal in all groups at 5 min.” (emphasis added) To be clear, Apgar score is a measure of neonatal adaptation wherein higher scores indicate better adaptation.
As such, these researchers concluded that “This study demonstrates increased risks for being born SGA in the VPA and CBZ groups, and transiently reduced Apgar scores in the VPA and PHT groups.”
Because so many women used Depacon in pregnancy unaware of the risks for birth defects, Depacon birth defect lawsuits have been filed in great number across the country. If you or a loved one used Depacon, Depakote, or Depakene during pregnancy and your child was born with a congenital malformation or had perinatal complications, 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 experience, resources, and skills required to win the justice you deserve. Call today and see how we can help.
(855) 452 – 5528