The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in December 2009, informed Health Care professionals about the increased risk of neural tube defects and other major birth defects associated with the use of Depakote during the first trimester of pregnancy. Doctors typically warn women who are looking to become pregnant of the correlation between Depakote and birth defects in the first trimester of pregnancy. They should also warn women who are not planning pregnancy but are sexually active of the risks. By the time these woman know they are pregnant, it may be too late to prevent the many birth defects that can occur as a result as Depakote use in the first trimester of pregnancy.
What Birth Defects can Depakote Cause?
Depakote (Divalproex Sodium) is a drug marketed by Abbott Laboratories used to treat bipolar disorder, migraine headaches, and seizures associated with epilepsy. Side effects of Depakote that pertain to birth defects include Spina Bifida (a neural tube defect), craniosynostosis (abnormal skull development), cleft pallet, arterial septal defect (holes in the heart), and polydactyly (extra fingers or toes).
Spina Bifida is perhaps the most significant birth defect tied to Depakote use. It is a developmental birth defect caused by the incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube. Spina bifida occurs when some of the vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed and remain unfused and open. Spina Bifida malformations fall into four categories: Spina Bifida occulta, Spina Bifida cystica (myelomeningocele), meningocele, and lipomenengocele. The most significant form of Spina Bifida is myelomeningocele, which leads to disability in most affected individuals.
Birth Defects in New Jersey
According to the Spina Bifida Association, there are an estimated 2.7 million women of childbearing age that live in New Jersey. Approximately 1,710 people with Spina Bifida live in New Jersey and 1.97 babies are born with Spina Bifida per 10,000 births in New Jersey. The Spina Bifida Association said, “If women were to consume 400 micrograms of the B-vitamin folic acid every day before pregnancy, the risk of Spina Bifida and other serious birth defects could be reduced up to 70%.” If you need resources to learn more about Spina Bifida, there are four clinics in New Jersey located in Mountainside, Edison, Summit, and West Orange.
Birth Defect Attorneys at the Mininno Law Office
If you or a loved are dealing with the tribulations of a child with birth defects, and you believe those defects were caused by the negligence of another, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. Our team is eager and prepared to earn you the compensation you need and deserve. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.