When patients are prescribed a medication, they expect that it will make them feel better. Many people don’t consider that the medication they take could have dangerous side effects.
People who suffer from epilepsy, bipolar disorder and migraines may be familiar with a drug called Depakote. It is used to treat these conditions by preventing the breakdown of a brain chemical called GABA, otherwise known as gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA works to calm brain activity and prevent overactivity.
Depakote is sometimes used together with serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help patients with depression. These SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain to address mood and brain function.
Serious side effects
Many prescription drugs generally have some side effects. Depakote has caused some patients to experience mild side effects like nausea, drowsiness, digestive issues, weight loss and trembling.
However, some patients have reported serious side effects like liver damage and inflammation of the pancreas, which can be fatal.
Other patients have experienced increased depression and suicidal thoughts. In addition, children who were born to mothers who took Depakote while pregnant may be at risk for neural tube defects, spina bifida and cognitive impairments.
FDA warning and lawsuits
Several years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned healthcare providers and women about the risks of using Depakote during pregnancy. The FDA categorizes Depakote as an “X class” drug, which means that the risk of taking the drug outweighs the benefit in pregnant women.
There have also been multiple lawsuits against the manufacturer of Depakote. Several of these claims note that the manufacturer failed to warn about Depakote’s significant and adverse side effects.
An experienced attorney can help patients or their family members who were harmed by Depakote or other drugs and pursue compensation on their behalf.