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Depakote Birth Defects That Linger Even After Repair

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Washington, DCWhile Depakote is an important drug used to help control and treat seizures, concern remains with regard to its association with Depakote birth defects. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in fact, recently identified divalproex sodium (Depakote) as having a link to severe birth defects and Depakote side effects as evidenced by some studies.

The FDA noted that some of those defects could include heart defects such as holes in the heart, abnormal skull formation, spina bifida, and cleft palate and/or cleft lip. Many a Depakote lawsuit has stemmed from plaintiffs claiming not to have known the damning side effects and the potential for harm to their unborn child.

To that end, many Depakote birth defects such as cleft palate and lip (CLP) can be surgically corrected. However, a number of factors come into play, such as the capacity for parents to fund such a series of procedures through their HMO or otherwise. There is also the added stress a family comes under when dealing with such a situation.

And while a cleft allegedly caused by Depakote has the potential to be corrected, there are often lingering scars and deformities that remain with the child.

Various studies over the years have focused on children born with facial deformities and the impact such a deformity, or series of deformities, has on the child. According to various studies, including Cole, 1988, and Cf. Rumsey & Harcourt 2005, facial appearance is generally regarded as an important prerequisite for healthy psychosocial development.

And when that development is encumbered by a deformity, a number of factors come into play. One study identified a 25-year-old single female patient with hyper nasality and misarticulation of speech directly related to an untreated orofacial cleft (OFC).

Such issues can also come into play with treated OFC, relative to the first impressions others have of youth with clefts and how these youths present themselves in social situations. Edwards et al suggested that the presence of even repaired clefts might be perceived and interpreted as irritating, as a function of positive or unfavorable social skills in an individual with OFC.

To that end, a study by Brand et al released in 2009, demonstrated that children and adolescents with a repaired cleft of the lip or palate were six times more likely to report difficulties in interactional competencies when compared to controls without CLP. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, withdrawal and shyness have been reported.

Another study, this time involving adults of Chinese heritage (Cheung et al, 2007) found that individuals suffering from OFC presented with lower self-esteem.

And a Swedish study (Marcusson et al, 2001) found that adults with OFC presented significantly lower scores for quality of life, family life, private economy, well-being and social contacts, amongst other factors. A French study (Danino et al, 2005) found that individuals with CLP married later in life and had a lower income, amongst other factors.

Little wonder that parents who find themselves dealing with Depakote birth defects, often gravitate to a Depakote lawsuit. The stress and costs associated with such a situation notwithstanding, even a repaired birth defect such as a cleft lip or palate can have a life-long impact on the child.


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