Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 5, 2019

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You may have heard of the anti-seizure drug, Depakote, in news reports linking the drug to the death of John Travolta’s son. However, it has also been linked to a greater risk of serious birth defects such as spina bifida, cleft palate, limb deformity, congenital cardiac defects, facial dysmorphism and others. Depakote lawyers say that numerous Depakote product liability lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer and that more are likely.

What is Depakote?

Manufactured by Abbott Laboratories and approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Depakote, a neuronal stabilizing agent (aka anticonvulsant), is used to treat various types of seizure disorders such as epilepsy, manic phases of bipolar disorders (manic-depressive illness) and to prevent migraine headaches. It is also marketed by Abbott as Depacon and Depakene and generically as valproate sodium, valproic acid and divalproex sodium.

Depakote birth defects and side effects

According to a study by Haukeland University Hospital in Norway, pregnant women who are prescribed Depakote have a six percent greater chance of delivering a child with the following birth defects:

  • Spina bifida
  • Cleft palate
  • Limb deformity
  • Congenital cardiac defects
  • Facial dysmorphism

Other studies, including one published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), show that Depakote use can lower a child’s IQ’s. The FDA has also warned Depakote patients that taking the drug carries a greater risk of suicidal thoughts and issued a black box warning, the strongest warning available, in January 2006 over concerns of hepatoxicity (chemical driven liver damage), teratogenicity (the capability of producing fetal malformation) and pancreatitis (the inflammation or infection of the pancreas).

Depakote birth defect lawsuits

Depakote attorneys indicate that numerous product liability lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers alleging that they knew that these drugs were dangerous – yet have failed to warn consumers. If you or your child has been injured due to Depakote use, contact an experienced Depakote lawyer to discuss your situation.