Abbott’s best-selling antiepileptic drug Depakote has been linked to a number of severe congenital birth defects, the most severe of which is fetal death. This condition is characterized by a newborn baby’s absence of breath, heart beat, and voluntary muscle movement. Although many fetal deaths are caused by unknown factors, the maternal use of Depakote and Depakene during pregnancy has been found to be a leading factor.

Fetal Death Lawsuit Review: If you or a loved one experienced a fetal death or stillborn baby after taking Depakote or Depakene, you should contact our lawyers immediately. Consultations are always free. Please use our confidential email contact form or call toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.

Which Prescription Medications Have Been Linked to Fetal Death?

Manufactured and marketed by Abbott Laboratories, Depakote products are designed to help patients manage and minimize the symptoms of conditions including epilepsy, migraine headaches, and the manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, there have been reports of severe birth defects in babies born to mothers who took Depakote products during pregnancy, the most severe of which is fetal death. The following Depakote medications have been linked to fetal death:

  • Depakote
  • Depakote CP
  • Depakote ER
  • Depakene
  • Valproate Acid
  • Divalproex Sodium

Fetal Death Overview

From conception up until the end of the second month of gestation, an unborn child is considered an embryo. The embryonic period is a critical time in the development of a baby, and includes the formation of such vital organs as the heart and brain. It is during this time that over 90% of the structures of the human body are established.

Under normal circumstances, the unborn baby will continue to grow and the vital organs will become fully developed until birth. However, if there is a problem during the process of fetal development, a birth defect may occur. Mounting research and numerous case studies have shown that expecting mothers who take anticonvulsant drugs like Depakote and Depakene are more likely to give birth to babies with major birth injuries or to children who are stillborn.

The National Center for Health Statistics defines fetal death as “death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy and which is not an induced termination of pregnancy. The death is indicated by the fact that after such expulsion or extraction, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. Heartbeats are to be distinguished from transient cardiac contractions; respirations are to be distinguished from fleeting respiratory efforts or gasps.”

Fetal Death Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Depakote-induced fetal death may include:

  • death of a fetus
  • sudden loss of pregnancy symptoms
  • sudden cessation of fetal movement
  • miscarriage
  • inability to find fetal heartbeat upon examination

Fetal Death Classification

In the United States, state laws require the reporting of fetal deaths, and Federal law mandates national collection and publication of fetal death data. Fetal deaths are typically classified according to the age of the fetus. A death that occurs before 20 weeks’ gestation is usually considered a spontaneous abortion, while those occurring later are classified as fetal deaths or stillbirths. Additionally, a fetal weight of 350 g or more is sometimes used to define fetal death.

Fetal Death Rates

The fetal death rate in the United States is approximately 6-7 deaths per 1,000 total live births, and accounts for about 50% of perinatal mortality (fetal and neonatal deaths). This rate varies considerably worldwide, depending on the quality of medical care and the definitions used for classifying fetal deaths. Underreporting in developing countries is rampant, making accurate statistics difficult to ascertain.

Is there a time limit in filing a fetal death birth defects lawsuit?

Nothing can ever truly compensate you for the loss of your child. However, taking legal action can provide families of victims of defective drug side effects with financial compensation to pay for any difficulties that may arise after such a tragic loss. Our fetal death attorneys are committed to fighting for families who have suffered the tragic and preventable loss of a child.

Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their fetal death lawyer, it is important that you understand that time is of the essence. The applicable statute of limitations in your state may time bar your claim. Furthermore, we are unable to provide you with legal advice without first evaluating your potential case. Accordingly, please take the time now to contact us by using the confidential email contact form below or by calling us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.

We hope we will be able to assist you with your potential fetal death birth defects lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.


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