What Is Sodium Valproate?
Sodium Valproate is an anticonvulsant drug trade names include ‘Epilim’ and ‘Depakote’, mainly used in the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. It is regarded as one of the most successful anticonvulsants in use and has been ever since it was licensed in 1975.
Since 1982, there have been concerns about the effect that Sodium Valproate was having on the children of epileptic mothers, who had been using the drug during their pregnancy.
In particular, the main cause for concern was that the use of the drug during pregnancy by women with epilepsy resulted in children being born with spina bifida.
Since these initial concerns, the likes of autism, neurodevelopmental delay and both major and minor congenital malformations have been linked to the drug when prescribed during pregnancy.
Our expert drug liability solicitors conducted the Fetal Anti Convulsant Litigation up until 2010, when its funding was withdrawn by the Legal Services Commission.
In November 2014, the European Medicines Agency recommended that doctors in the EU not prescribe sodium valproate for epilepsy or bipolar disorder in pregnant women or women who can become pregnant, or in girls unless other treatments are ineffective or not tolerated.
These recommendations follow studies establishing that amongst the children of epileptic women who took valproate during pregnancy 30-40% have developmental problems – delayed walking and talking, memory problems, difficulty with speech/language and lower intellectual ability. In addition, there is an enhanced risk of childhood autism and/or autistic spectrum disorder.
There is also an 11% risk of malformations at birth (such as neural tube defect and cleft palate) compared with a 2-3% background risk.
Our team is currently campaigning for MPs to recognise the dangers linked to the use of this drug during pregnancy for epilepsy sufferers and are calling for a public examination of the drug to take place.
How You Can Claim
If you have been directly affected by the use of Sodium Valproate leading to any of these problems in children, contact us online and we may be able to help you claim compensation.