Many women realize they are pregnant when they have been carrying for several weeks, sometimes well into their second trimester. This is very dangerous for women taking a number of drugs that can cause birth defects - Depakote is a prime example. And even worse is that many doctors tell their patients to stay on the anti-seizure drug during pregnancy, believing the risk of seizure outweighs the chances of their child being born with Depakote birth defects.
There aren’t too many women these days who would agree. And those women who stopped taking Depakote immediately after discovering they were pregnant can’t shake the guilt when their child is born with an extra toe, or in the case of Sandra’s son, a cleft palate. (There are more severe birth defects associated with Depakote.) Lisa’s son was also born with a cleft palate.
“My son is 21 years old, but after all this time I still feel guilty,” says Lisa. “I only took Depakote for a few months and I’m not sure if I was on the drug while I was pregnant or how long it stays in your system. But I had six sonograms during my pregnancy and that isn’t normal. To this day I don’t know if my doctor knew - I don’t know if cleft palate can even be detected by sonogram, but all these years later I can’t help but wonder.
“My son had so many surgeries it was heartbreaking - I lived at Children’s Hospital for quite some time. He was only a few months old for the first and 10 years old for the last surgery. I don’t know if he was ridiculed at school because he didn’t tell me much; he is the type that hides everything, so maybe having the cleft palate taught him to do that. And he doesn’t talk to me much at all so I wonder if he blames me.”
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“About two years ago I saw a commercial on TV about Depakote birth defects and I was very shocked. I didn’t tell my son, but he knows that I have been on epilepsy drugs all my life. I filed a claim with LawyersandSettlements to find out more about Depakote, and above all, I want to warn women not to take this drug.”