Depakote (or Divalproex) has been long established to cause birth defects. Even before the FDA issued official guidance in 2009, the medical literature clearly indicated a linkage between Depakote and a variety of problems, including spinal bifida and cleft palate. Lawsuits and settlements in the intervening years have even more clearly illustrated the dangers posed by this drug.
But even as so many birth defects caused by Depakote are acknowledged, many parents are awaiting a clear answer on whether or not maternal usage of Divalproex might contribute to the development of Autism. French researchers have indicated an intent to more fully answer questions regarding the linkage between Divalproex and this developmental disability, but no report has yet emerged.
One person, in particular, was hoping medical literature would address this issue quickly. Beatrice Sifuentes had filed suit against the manufacturer of the drug, claiming that Depakote caused a variety of birth defects. Though most of the case was allowed to proceed, on November 15th, 2017, the presiding judge threw out claims about Autism, claiming a lack of literature to support the claim.
Research on birth defects can be difficult to obtain, in part due to ethical concerns allowing pregnant women to subject unborn babies to potentially dangerous drugs. This is particularly true in cases where the drug in question is already demonstrated to cause birth defects, as is the case with Depakote.
If you or someone you love was prescribed Depakote while pregnant, determining the effects the drug may have had on the unborn fetus can be difficult. Though research is still taking place to determine whether or not Depakote can cause Autism, the other birth defects are clearly proven. Please, consult with an experienced attorney about your case.