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Popular pregnancy drug could cause birth injury?

When people in Pittsburgh think of a birth injury, they first usually think of some distress that occurs during the delivery that causes injury to the infant. While this does happen, there are other reasons behind a birth injury that can happen at any point from conception to gestation to labor. Sometimes pregnant women take drugs as prescribed by their doctor while pregnant. However, these drugs can have side-effects that result in a birth injury.

One such drug that was originally classified as a relatively safe drug for pregnant women to take was later classified as an 'X' class drug. This drug, called Depakote, was prescribed to women as a mood-stabilizer and as a treatment for epilepsy, among other things. It was later determined that Depakote can result in lower IQs for children whose mother took the drug. Prior to this determination, at least three dozen lawsuits were filed against the drug manufacturer due to other resulting defects like spine bifida and heart defects affecting the child.

The lawsuits were based on the premise that the drug company failed to warn expecting mothers of the potential side effects Depakote could have on their unborn child. If a doctor prescribed the drug after the 'X' class status was determined, the case could relate to medical malpractice if the doctor wrongly prescribed the drug to an expecting mother.

While a doctor mistake could account for a birth injury from this drug, most likely the majority of the burden will fall on the manufacturer's failure to warn against infant injury. Any injury resulting from the use of a prescribed drug is a terrible tragedy. When that injury results in injury to an innocent child, it is even more tragic. This injury could affect the rest of a child's life.

Source: FindLaw, "Depakote," Accessed Dec. 19, 2016

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