Divalproex, whose brand name is Depakote or Epival, is an anticonvulsant drug that controls petit mal seizures of epilepsy, the manic episodes in bipolar disorder and migraine headaches.

Depakote should not be prescribed for pregnant women because the risk of birth defects to the unborn child outweighs possible benefits. Depakote birth defects can be severe and life threatening to the child, and may include anencephaly, spina bifida, and others. According to the Food and Drug Administration Depakote is a class D risk for a human fetus. This means that Depakote should be used only in a life threatening situation by the pregnant woman when no safer drug can be found. A pregnant woman who is prescribed Depakote and then gives birth to a child with birth defects might consider legal recourse.

Birth defects are the most severe side effect of Depakote:

A pregnant woman who takes Depakote has a ten times higher than average risk of giving birth to a child with a catastrophic birth defect such an anencephaly, when the child is born without a brain.

Spina bifida is also a risk of a woman taking Depakote during her pregnancy. Spina bifida occurs when the neural tube isn’t closed during fetal development and as a result some of the vertebrae over the spinal cord aren’t fused, remain open and leave the spinal cord exposed. The symptoms of spina bifida can vary. Sometimes the person doesn’t even know they have it. In severe cases the spinal cord can protrude through openings in the bone and cause paralysis.

If you or a loved one have taken Depakote while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect, you may be entitled to legal damages. Contact a Depakote lawyer today for more information.

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