Depakote (divalproex sodium) has been prescribed to millions of patients since the early 1980’s, and was one of the first of its generation in a class of drugs called antiepileptics, or AEDs. The primary drug in this medication, valproic acid, works by restoring the balance neurotransmitters in the brain. Depakote is used to treat various seizure disorders, prevent migraine headaches as well as treat manic depression; a phase of bipolar disorder. Other similar brand name medications that contain valproic acid include Depakene, Depacon and Stavzor.
Unfortunately, Depakote has been linked to serious risks and health concerns. Common side effects of Depakote include: nausea, headache, drowsiness, vomiting, hair loss, dizziness, weight gain and appetite changes. Other more rare, but more serious side effects include severe liver damage, pancreatitis and an increased suicide risk.
A study in 2010 showed that women who took Depakote, or other forms of valproic acid, during pregnancy developed a 3 times greater chance of their child being born with a serious birth defect or cognitive impairment. These birth defects include:
- Spina bifida (neural tube defects);
- Cleft palate;
- Atrial or ventricular septal defects (a hole in the heart);
- Hypospadias (an abnormality in the opening of the urethra in boys);
- Polydactyly (extra fingers or toes);
- Craniosynotosis (premature closing of sutures on a baby’s skull);
- Craniofacial defects;
- Decreased or low IQ; and
- Autism disorders including:
- Autistic Disorder;
- Asperger’s Syndrome;
- Pervasive Developmental;
- Rett’s Syndrome; and
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
If you or someone you love have taken Depakote—or other drugs containing valproic acid—and gave birth to a child with a serious birth defect or have been severely injured by this medication; we can help. The personal injury attorneys of Roberts and Roberts have the experience, expertise and resources to investigate your claim and get you the compensation you deserve. The call costs you nothing, it could mean everything.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.