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Anticonvulsant & Birth Defects

Two of the most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant drugs in the United States are Topamax (topiramate) and Depakote(valproate), both of which are commonly prescribed to patients suffering from epilepsy, and which are sometimes used to treat other conditions as well. Unfortunately, anticonvulsant side effect studies have suggested that children born to women who take Depakote or Topamax while pregnant may have an increased risk of developing serious and even life-threatening birth defects. If you took Depakote or Topamax while pregnant and your child was born with a major birth defect, contact our drug injury attorneys today for legal help.


Depakote was approved by the FDA in 1983 and is often used in the treatment of seizures, migraine headaches, and the manic phase of bipolar disorder. The anticonvulsant is currently manufactured by Abbott Laboratories and remains on the market in the U.S. for widespread consumer use. Topamax originally garnered FDA approval in 1996 for use in patients experiencing generalized tonic-clonic and partial onset seizures associated with epilepsy. In 2004, the FDA added an indication for Topamax in the prevention of migraine headaches, and the anticonvulsant is currently manufactured by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.


Although Depakote has held an FDA pregnancy category of D for some time, the agency just recently elevated the pregnancy category of Topamax from C to D, based on new evidence linking use of the drug in pregnancy to an increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate birth defects in children. Other Topamax side effect studies have indicated that women who take Topamax while pregnant may also be at risk of giving birth to children with genital birth defects like hypospadias. Depakote, which has been on the market for much longer than Topamax, may be associated with a long list of life-altering birth defects, including:

  • Heart defects
  • Neural tube birth defects
  • Spina bifida
  • Autism
  • Growth retardation
  • Skeletal defects
  • Developmental delay


Despite the fact that research has established potential links between both Topamax and Depakote, and severe birth defects among children exposed to the drugs in pregnancy, the anticonvulsants remain widely prescribed by physicians across the United States. If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious birth defect, which you believe to be associated with an anticonvulsant drug like Depakote or Topamax, our Corpus Christi drug injury attorneys can help. With our expertise and resources, you can hold the pharmaceutical company liable and pursue fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries and medical bills.