Depakote Birth Defects

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Depakote is a popular anticonvulsant drug that has been prescribed to hundreds of thousands of Americans for the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar mania and migraine prevention.

However, taking Depakote has been linked to harmful effects on the liver and to serious birth defects. If you, your child, or anyone you know have taken the drug and experienced the serious Depakote side effects associated with the drug, you may be entitled to significant compensation and should share your story with our Depakote birth defect attorneys now.

Our experienced drug injury lawyers will be able to answer your Depakote lawsuit questions, with no obligation, and present your legal options if your infant child suffered from any of the following birth defects:

  • Cleft palates
  • Spina bifida
  • Hand malformations
  • Undescended testes
  • Hypospadia (a condition in which the opening of the urethra in male babies is not correctly positioned)
  • Abnormally developed ribs
  • Potential fetal death

Contact the attorneys at McDonald Worley today for a FREE case evaluation if you or your loved one has suffered from any of these Depakote side effects.


The drug Depakote (divalproex sodium) was designed and prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder, epilepsy, and migraines.

Depakote was brought to market by Abbott Laboratories in 1983. Since then, their patent has expired and the drug is now available as generic divalproex sodium manufactured by several generic drug manufacturers including Teva Pharmaceuticals, Sandoz Labs, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

Depakote and Seizures/Epilepsy

Depakote affects chemicals in the body that may trigger seizures. The drug works by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which carries messages between brain cells and soothes overstimulated nerves. Increasing GABA helps prevent brain signals that lead to seizures.

Depakote and Bipolar Disorder

Depakote was approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder in 1995. Since then, Depakote has become the most-prescribed mood stabilizer for treating manic episodes, also known as manic depression. Several studies have confirmed the drug improves bipolar symptoms over Lithium, which used to be the only FDA-approved drug for mania. Doctors may choose a treatment plan that combines Depakote with antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Depakote and Migraines

The FDA approved Depakote for the treatment of migraine headaches in 1996. The drug is used before the onset of symptoms to prevent migraines and is most effective for patients who typically have more than two migraine headaches per month.


Depakote has been the subject of controversy for over a decade due to its potential life-threatening side effects. A Depakote class action was filed to address a number of allegations due to complications linked to the drug.

It was shown to cause liver damage in certain patients, and in 2000 the FDA required Abbott to include a black box warning regarding potential liver damage risks.

Even more troubling was the finding that Depakote use in pregnant women increased the risk of certain types of birth defects.

In 2007, the FDA required additional black box warnings to advise users of potential birth defects to infants who are exposed to Depakote during the gestation period. The drug has since been classified as a “Category C” drug for pregnant women. This classification is for drugs that have been shown to have adverse effects in animal studies. However, there have been no controlled studies in pregnant women.

A number of Depakote lawsuits have been filed alleging child injuries, and birth defect attorneys continue to review Depakote claims.

Data has been put forward by the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry showing that 1g/day of divalproex sodium during the first trimester increases the risk of congenital malformations by 4x in comparison with alternative antiepileptic treatments.

The most concerning birth defect associated with the use of Depakote by pregnant women is spina bifida. This is when the embryonic neural tube is either malformed or incompletely formed. As a result, the infant is born with an incomplete spinal formation, causing the spinal cord to be exposed.

The risk of spina bifida in the general population is just 0.14 percent to 0.20 percent. However, women who use Depakote during pregnancy have a risk of up to two percent of having an infant born with spina bifida. While this may still be considered a small percentage, it is five to 10 times the risk—which is significant.


If you have a child that was born with birth defects after Depakote was ingested during pregnancy, contact our drug injury lawyers immediately to discuss your legal options and answer your questions about a potential Depakote lawsuit.

A successful Depakote lawsuit will result in significant financial recovery that can help with medical and financial burdens faced.