Unadvertised Depakote Side Effects Give Rise to Lawsuits
A 10-year study comprised of 550 women taking anti-epileptic medications, particularly Depakote, has determined that it should not be prescribed as the first anti-seizure drug of choice for those of child-bearing age. As stated in Medscape, about one million women of childbearing age in the United States endure some type of a seizure disorder, with more or less 20, 000 of these women bearing children in a regular year. Because many of these women are not aware of their pregnancies until after the first trimester (the most vulnerable and vital time of the pregnancy), these pregnancies have higher risks of developing birth defects, miscarriages, prenatal death, and frequent seizures for the mothers. Many of the women who have birthed babies with birth defects caused by Depakote agree that the risk of seizure surpasses the benefits that the anti-epileptic medication provides.
On December 2013, after a number of Depakote lawsuits from mothers and patients who suffered the side effects of Depakote, a United States Magistrate Judge have ordered the manufacturer of Depakote (Abbott Laboratories) to present the “long overdue” documents of Depakote lawsuits that claims of birth defects. According to research, babies who are borne from mothers who have taken anti-epileptic medications like Depakote have twice as much risk of developing birth defects than those who have not. It is not just the babies who are at risk from the side effects of Depakote: the website of Williams Kherkher further states that mothers can also be putting their own health at risk. Possible side effects for mothers are more seizures, high prospect of depression, and the additional problems of changing medications, to complications from C-section births.
As of 2012, numerous Depakote lawsuits from both state and federal levels have already forced Abbott Laboratories for more than a billion dollars for payment of penalties. Aside from the complications that Depakote can cause to pregnant mothers, the manufacturers are also facing lawsuits due to illegally marketing Depakote, after it have been discovered that the anti-epileptic drug has been marketed in various nursing homes as a sedative to curb aggression and agitation in patient suffering from dementia and after being marketed as an antipsychotic drug for treatment of schizophrenia despite having no clinical evidence of its effectiveness on the said conditions.