Depakote Lawsuits

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The use of the epilepsy drug Depakote and similar drugs have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects and malformations, including cleft palate, spina bifida and deformed limbs and skulls.

DEPAKOTE LAWSUIT STATUS: Product liability lawyers are evaluating potential Depakote birth defect lawsuits for individuals who took valproate-based drugs during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with malformations or other problems.


MANUFACTURER: Abbot Laboratories

OVERVIEW: Depakote (valproic acid) is an anti-seizure drug approved by FDA in 1983 for the treatment of epilepsy. It belongs to a class of drugs based on valproate; which includes Depacon, Stavzor, and the first drug in the class, Depakene, which was first approved in 1978.

Valproate, or valproic acid, is an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug. In addition to epilepsy, it is often prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and depression.

DEPAKOTE BIRTH DEFECT SIDE EFFECTS: In 2006, the FDA added a “black box” warning about the potential risk of a birth defect from Depakote use during pregnancy. The warning came after a study found that 20% of pregnant mothers who gave birth while on Depakote resulted in a child with birth defects.

In May 2010, researchers found that Depakote birth defect side effects could be caused by using the drug as early as the first trimester, which means that by the time many women discover they are pregnant, it could be too late to get off the drug and avoid birth defects for their unborn child.

Researchers have linked the Depakote side effects to the following birth defects:

  • Spina bifida
  • Cleft palate
  • Abnormal skull formation
  • Malformed limbs
  • Extra fingers and toes
  • Urinary problems
  • Holes in the heart

Spina bifida from Depakote is the most common birth defect associated with the drug. Researchers have found that pregnant women taking the drug are 12 times more likely to have a child with spinal bifida than women who are not taking it.

In December 2009, the FDA strengthened birth defect warnings on Depakote and other valproic acid drugs, telling healthcare professionals to warn all women of childbearing age taking the drugs that they could cause a wide variety of birth defects.

DEPAKOTE DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS: A number of studies have linked Depakote use during pregnancy to developmental delays as well, including an increased risk of cognitive disability, autism and lower IQ scores.

In early 2013, two studies were published that found that Depakote use increased the risk of developmental delays, impacting memory, verbal skills and executive function. One study found an increase in the risk of autism as well, echoing the findings of a 2011 study by Danish researchers.

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  1. christopher Reply

    I would like to know if side effects includes males passing it to one son. Because my son was born with bones fused together in his foot
    and didn’t know until he was at the age of 12. Noticed that he started to limp after each game he played. Took him to a doctor and thats when we discovered the problem.

  2. Amy Reply

    II would like to know if there are more possible side affects from the drug than what are listed! My son was born with trachia malasia, undecended testicals, hearing problumes, and his toes are abnormal looking! He has had multipul surgeries and is only 4 years old! We almost lost him a number of times and we have more surgeries ahead of us!

  3. rick Reply

    Yes christopher,

    I had the same question you did, can it be passed on from a male to a woman. I called @ it’s for women only, get can’t be passed on!!

  4. mems Reply

    My Son’s dad was taking depakote before and after I had the baby. My son was born with a hole in his heart. No one in my family had this defect. Could depakote be the cause?

  5. Cassie Reply

    I became unexpectedly pregnant in the summer of ’07 with my son. I discovered that I was pregnant in the first term and stopped taking my low dose of Depakote immediately. My son now has developmental delays and was born with an attached upper lip frenulum. He is scheduled to begin Early Childhood Special Education this spring. He has significant speech, social/emotional, and other delays. There is also a concern that he may have Sensory Processing Disorder. As a concerned parent, I checked to see if any medication (I also was taking a low dose of Citalopram) that I was taking throughout my pregnancy could have caused this and am awaiting response.

  6. Cassie Reply

    Apparently, the delays could have been caused by Depakote, but it is not known for sure. This would be a very difficult thing to prove as many other factors come in to play. This gives me some peace of mind. Thank you for your response.

  7. Penny Reply

    My daughter was taking Depakote for BPD when she became pregnant with my grandson in 1997. He has speech problems, MR, and early onset BPD. Could the Depakote have contributed? It would be interesting to see research r/t mental disorders in children whose mother was on Depakote during pregnancy.

  8. barbra Reply

    Are there any dangers in taking Depakote now for anyone, even adults?

  9. Bree Reply

    While on Depakote my hair broke off at the root and fell out like I was in chemo. I now only have 1/3 of the amount of hair I used to have prior to Depakote Feb 2008. I stopped Depakote, took vitamins to make my hair grow. The hair began to grow. I stopped the vitamins and my hair broke off and fell out a second time even though I was no longer on Depakote. People asked me if I was chemo and just didn’t want to tell them. People thought I had cancer, but was hiding it from them. My hair loss was fast and noticeable falling out by the handfuls every day. After being off Depakote for three years my hair is finally starting to grow again. It took a long time to get Depakote out of my system so my hair could grow. If my hair suddenly broke off and fell out what did it do to my internal organs??? Hair loss is only a symptom of something is even worse going on my body. I no longer have long, blond beautiful hair due to Depakote.

    I gained 50 pounds on Depakote. I would have gained more, but for demanding to be taken off of it.

    I had an allergic reaction to the med and ended up ER with swollen legs and the swelling moving rapidly up into my torso. The swelling was so severe the ER doc prepped an OR for me in the event my skin split open from the swelling and i would need to be stitched shut in an emergency. My tongue itched. I had asthma and difficulty breathing. A CAT scan was done on my legs to rule out a blood clot in my legs before they proceeded to do anything. Once they knew there was no blood clot they knew for sure it was the Depakote. My allergic reaction nearly killed me. I was given an anti-diuretic to pee out the fluid and make the swelling go down and then released.

    I am sure there are other people out there with an allergic reaction like mine. My psychiatrist was not surprised and neither were the ER docs when I told them the name “Depakote” was responsible for what happened to me. Anyone can have an allergic reaction to any kind of med and put you in a life threatening situation, but that was just weird. I swelled up like a puffer fish. How many times does that happen to people? What the heck is in it anyway?

    If my hair will still not grow properly 2.5 years later that is alarming. What the hell did it do to me and what it is still doing to me? Why will my hair not grow after Depakote broke it off and made it fall out as if i went through chemo? Even after chemo your hair comes back, so why won’t mine? What did Depakote do to me?

  10. John Reply

    I took depakote and was later switched to Depakote ER for my Tx of seizures. Within weeks, I developed severe pain in my abdomen after awakening one morning and thought that it might simply be a stomach ache. At first I rejected the thought of going to the ER for what initially presented itself as stomach pain. Once it became so severe, I knew that it had to be something else especially since I hadn’t yet had anything to eat that morning. Upon my admit to the ER and when the doc first only touched my abdomen, I let out a scream that would currdle the paint off the walls. The preliminay diagnosis was ACUTE PANCREATITIS DUE TO DEPAKOTE.

    My neurologist said that if I hadn’t been seen within that next hour-and-a-half, that I most certainly would have died. My lipase level, an enzyme produced in the Pancreas, exceeded 2100. The normal range is supposed to be between 40 – 80 units.

    Once hospitalized and after all subsequent doses were terminated, I could immediately feel the difference just after what would have been the next dose. During my ER exam, when the doc even just touched my abdomen, I let out a scream that curdled the paint right off the walls. Their preliminary diagnosis was Acute Pancreatitis.

  11. Jill Reply

    Depakote caused a birth defect, anencephaly, in a fetus I was carrying in 1996. Due to the nature of the defect, the infant would have been born still, or died shortly thereafter. I chose to have an abortion to avoid carrying a non-viable infant to term. I’m assuming that this lawsuit only applies to those living with these side effects. Depakote is poison, I wish it didn’t work so well for me.

  12. dennis Reply

    I was prescribed depakote when I was14. 20 years ago. I didn’t take it long. I do remember in time of me taking it and stopping, I ended up with alopeciea areota which is baldness in circles. Here I am 14 years old with a big bald spot in the back of my heady, as if things weren’t already troubled enough for me. Eventually my hair grew back. But it fell out in different places. My hair did look to be growing back fully, until the end of 00 beginning 01 when I was prescrbed depakote again. Suddenly in an instant one day after my second partakings of the drug boom my hair starts falling out. I was squeezing my head with both hands and all my strength but to no avail. I’m left with no eyebrows, lashes, nosehair and to include 15% of the hair I would normally have.

  13. Scotty Reply

    I was injured with taking depakote and I am 34 I was obese and pre diabetic. So if there is anyone out there that can take my claim let me know.

  14. Shorelife2013 Reply

    Hello dose anyone know if there is a lawsuit for hair loss and weight gain for men if so can you please let me know

  15. LeeAnn Reply

    Does anyone know if divalproex (depakote) can be passed from the father who was taking the medication when I became pregnant if that would cause developmental delays in the child when the child is born? Please let me know my fiance was on depakote when I became pregnant with my daughter. She is two years old and she screams, bangs her head, and has speech delays. Please email me and let me know please.

  16. jeffrey Reply

    I had a t.b.i. in october 2008\’, how in october 2013 i began having major side affects in left abdominal stomach affecting my paincreious which left very weak and unable stand almost lossing my consciousness. I went to the twice at united by ambulance. 2 different doctors gave more depokote then my blood pressure was in the 190 over 120 and told me they dont like medicare and ma then a nurse discharged me. 35 minutes later i ended back there in e.r. room and within 20 mins after ambulance brought me 2nd time a doctor said to me theres nothing we can do for you here is your discharge. The damn discharge paper didnt match symptoms as why ambulance brought me to the emergency room to begin with. I completely realized all that after i took myself off depokote because it would have killed me. Watch out for doctors covering up diagnosis to cover their butts.

  17. Anthony Reply

    Male prescribed and took Depakene, Depakote and generic for more than 30 years. Interested in learning of other patients, especially men, that experienced onset of cardiovascular problems, coronary blockage, heart attack, stroke, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, high total cholesterol, low HDL (good cholesterol), high LDL (bad cholesterol), hypertension, elevated ammonia, acute pancreatitis, metabolic syndrome, & stillbirths, premature birth, stunted growth of children, heart murmurs, or other birth defects related to children by medicated father.

  18. Anthony Reply

    Add high to very high triglycerides as side effect to above comment. There is a mechanism of metabolic insulin alterations causing hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance that is a known probable cause of weight gain in some patients. There are instances where some side effects diminish and reverse upon withdrawal of valproate.

  19. mike Reply

    I’ve been taking depakote er for many years.and I was wondering since I was taking it and I got my wife pregnant and eventually had our son with a club foot. could I have transmitted the depakote through her into my son to have caused this.

  20. rosalie Reply

    I suffer with depakote induced chronic pancreatitis with muscinous cystatanomas. I took depakote for epilepsy when I was 16 or 17 years old and continued taking for another 18 years.

    In 2002 I was initially diagnosed with pancreatic pseudocyst which turned out to be a misdiagnosis, it was later revealed that I had chronic pancreatitis complicated with muscinous cystatanomas. I had 2 surgeries that year, a third sugery in 2004. In 2006 I had an ERCP that induced pancreatitis. I don’t respond well to antibiotics.

    All in all I have nearly died 3 different times. Doctors told me they did not why I was still alive and that I ought to be dead.

    I was treated at UCSF. I used to be a paralegal. Know am permenately disabled. I don’t receive SSI only disability.

    I need an attorney to represent me in federal court. I live in California and am unable to work because of my disability. Please help me.

  21. linda Reply

    I experienced significant hair loss while on and after taking Depakote. My neurologist prescribed me for my chronic migraines, it worked most of the time but was not effective all the time. I stopped taking it after noticing balls of hair in my hands when I washed my hair. Hair was falling left and right even when I moved. It scared me so much I contacted my neurologist and he told me to stop taking it. Months later my hair is still falling out! Nothing seems to work not even supplements.

  22. Elizabeth Reply

    I suffer from Bipolar Disorder and was prescribed Depokote since 2004. I am also losing my hair, lost my appetite, lost alot of weight, stomach pain. I believe this is due to the many years of being on depokote.

  23. Mary Reply

    I took Depakoke for many years. When I was taken off the drug, I immediately became sick with severe pancreatitis. They found I had pancreas divism, which is usually a benign condition. Over 10 years, I have been hospitalized many times, countless ERCPs, a Whipple, then total pancrectomy. Now Type I diabetic, pancreatic insufficiency, chronic pain, oral enzymes, etc. I feel the Depakote somehow played a role in this conundrum, and at least am suspicious! Should I pursue legal action or just thank God I am alive, if only at a shadow of my former self? Have not been able to work in all these years and I desperately miss my career as a pharmacy tech in an oncology physician practice. I know that no amount of money will help return me to original health, but it would allow me to get help with ADLs and such when I just can’t do it myself due to my illness. I hate the idea of a lawsuit, but if a drug is responsible for this, the company should be at least partially liable.

  24. Candace Reply

    I was diagnosed with Rapid Cycling bipolar disorder and severe depression in 1994. I was originally taking Depakote 500mg and Zoloft 25mg once a day. By the age of of 20 my Depakote was increased to 750mg and Zoloft 50mg a day. Than when I was 22 my doctor switched me to Depakote ER 500MG twice a day and Zoloft 50MG twice a day. I became pregnant in November 2002 and my son was born in 2003. I was almost in my 3rd trimester when I was told to stop taking Depakote butwas given the choice to take or stop the Zoloft. When my son was born he failed his hearing screening at the hospital I asked them to retest it the day we left and failed again having several months later I found out he was born profoundly deaf in both ears thanks to an ABR. Since his birth I’ve had two other kids I was not on Depakote or Zoloft and they were born with hearing nothing wrong. A friend of mine brought it to my attention in November that Depakote and Zoloft do causedsevere hearing loss. Every lawyer though I’ve contacted is too afraid apparently to take my case because I don’t have proof right this second that that’s what caused it. But my son was born is delayed as well which can be linked to the medications. I wish I could find a lawyer who is willing to take my case. Already found an article several actually four ladies had sued for the exact same thing and won.

  25. shanna Reply

    What about the father taking it?

  26. Amanda Reply

    My brother has been on Depakote for 15 years. Since the first time he started taking it he has shaken so bad he could not even feed himself at times. He was very sick and was told that it was just an inherited disease in our family. No one in our family has any kind of illness that causes shaking. I could not understand it till 15 years later. I started working for a couple and the lady is very sick. She had to go to the behavioral unit and was put on Depakote. When she came home from the hospital she was shaking so bad she could not feed herself and was weak and in way worse shape than she was in before. I had flashbacks of my brother shaking and he is still on Depakote and still shaking but can function. She is still on Depakote but we are currently trying to get her off of it but still shakes and really bad some days. Depakote is an awful drug and has affected the people I love and watching my brother and this lady I see similarities that are effects of the drug. I am asking if my brother would have potential claim because he has dealt with this problem 15 years and was not told it was the medicine, but I know that it is the medicine and he has had to function like this for so long as a direct result; as well as, the lady I sit with. She was too weak in the first place to have to deal with any new problems. The Depakote did not help her, it caused more problems.

  27. Anthony Reply

    Many are asking, including about 7 on this post, if a Father taking Depakote can pass the drug to the Mother. The answer is presumably Yes the drug is passed from Father to the Mother. Valproic acid, active ingredient in Depakene/Depakote, has been measured in male semen following a single 500 mg dose. A 1978 report on a prior experiment related to Depakene, initial Valproic acid drug and forerunner to Depakote, proved measurable amounts of VPA in Human Male Semen after only one (1) dose of 500 mg of Depakene. The drug was provided by Abbott Laboratories with participation by Abbott personnel.

    Abbott and Abbvie have not disclosed in the FDA label their knowledge of measurable Depakene/Depakote contained in human male semen. Doctors, pharmacist, and healthcare support groups have relied upon the misleading label when issuing advice. Depakene and Depakote was classified as a teratogen (known to cause birth defects) prior to 1990. In September 2015, Abbvie reported an Adverse Reaction Post-Marketing Experience report in the FDA label that indicated Depakote could impact sperm and male fertility.

    Abbott and Abbvie stands silent as the public questions whether Depakote can be transmitted from Father to Mother.

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