Mothers who have epilepsy are at an increased risk of having a child with a birth defect or minor abnormality. The drugs that mothers take could, unwittingly, contribute to a birth defect, so it is important to pay close attention to what prescriptions a doctor prescribes while you are pregnant.
If you have epilepsy and your baby suffered a defect or abnormality, please contact one of our Miami medication error lawyers today. You are facing a lifetime of increased medical care for your child, and you deserve compensation.
Anti-Epilepsy Drugs Linked to Defects
About 2% of pregnant women take an epilepsy drug while pregnant. It is well established that certain medications increase the risk of birth defects, especially when taken during the first trimester. Women often are prescribed the following, which all carry risks of certain defects abnormalities:
- Valproate: a mother who takes this drug has a 19 times greater risk of a baby having spina bifida.
- Topiramate: this drug can cause cleft palate and cleft lip.
- Phenobarbital: this drug is most likely to cause heart defects.
In France, studies have linked the use of valproate to autism, learning difficulties, and congenital malformations in up to 40% of babies—a higher rate than we see in studies in the United States. Up to 30,000 babies have suffered a disability in France because their mothers took this drug. The manufacturer was sued in court by children who are continuing to live with disabilities.
Fortunately, doctors have developed alternative medicines to prevent seizures that have a much lower risk of a birth defect. Talk about these options with a doctor if you suspect you are pregnant.
It is vital to prevent seizures while pregnant because they can cause injury to a fetus as well, cutting off the supply of oxygen and causing a mother to fall and suffer trauma. However, some anti-epilepsy drugs interact negatively with birth control and can increase the risk of an unplanned pregnancy. For this reason, maintain open communication with your doctor about whether you are sexually active and at risk of getting pregnant. For example, carbamazepine is suspected of interacting with birth control, and you might want to avoid it.
Speak to a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney
Competent doctors should prescribe safe anti-epilepsy drugs, especially where a patient is sexually active and possibly pregnant. If not, the doctor could be negligent and liable for compensation.