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Depakote Birth Defects: An Uninviting Badge

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Washington, DCWhile Depakote birth defects such as cleft palate can be surgically repaired over time, in many instances, there are lingering scars and after-effects that can last a lifetime.

Those effects can severely impact a life.

Depakote is an anti-convulsant medication prescribed to manage and help control seizures. To such patients, valproate semisodium or divalproex sodium is an important treatment option. However, Depakote has been linked to various Depakote side effects that not only impact the patient, but more tragically, the offspring of women if Depakote is taken during pregnancy.

Various studies have found a link between Depakote use by pregnant woman, and the prevalence of birth defects thought to have been caused by the anti-convulsant. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory watchdog charged with overseeing the drug industry in the US, included Depakote on a list of drugs linked to severe birth defects.

Those defects were identified as holes in the heart, abnormal skull formation, cleft palate/cleft lip and spina bifida.

A cleft lip and/or cleft palate can be surgically repaired. But in most cases, there are scars. We all know someone who has been faced with a cleft lip or palate repair. Their speech is affected. Men will grow facial hair to hide the scar, although women do not have that option.

As a result, self-esteem can take a major hit with such an obvious Depakote birth defect. The face is the first thing you see. A pleasant face is valued in many societies around the world. And even while, in North America, we celebrate, accept and embrace adversity and an individual's imperfections, the reality is reduced self-esteem and self-worth on the part of many Depakote babies once they reach adulthood.

An act of God is one thing. Many birth defects are genetic or happen for various reasons, which cannot be explained. However, when a drug having known or suspected links to birth defects is nonetheless manufactured and prescribed to pregnant women, the outcome can be tragic and can lead to a Depakote lawsuit.

Worse, for a child affected by Depakote birth defects, the fallout can last a lifetime, and for them it's as plain as the nose on their face. Or the scar just below the nose…a badge that says, "I was a Depakote child." A badge that could include, in parentheses, "this didn't need to happen…"


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