Hypospadias is a rare male congenital birth defect in which the urethra opening is on the under side of the penis, rather than at the end. Mounting research and numerous case studies have linked hypospadias to the maternal use of several types of popular prescription medications during pregnancy. If your baby boy was born with hypospadias, the defective drug lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP would like to speak with you. Drugs linked to hypospadias include antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft, as well as epilepsy drugs like Depakote, Depakene and Depacon.
Hypospadias Suit Review: If you or somebody you know has given birth to a child with hypospadias after being exposed to a prescription medication in the womb, 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 medications have been linked to hypospadias?
Because any medication can present risks in pregnancy, the safest pregnancy-related pharmacy is as little as possible. However, women with a history of severe depression or other psychiatric illnesses frequently require medication throughout pregnancy. In such patients, care must be taken to select the safest drug from the necessary class of medication. The following selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants have been linked to severe birth defects such as hypospadias, and should only be used by pregnant when all other courses of treatment have failed:
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
In addition to these antidepressants, the following epilepsy medications have also been associated with hypospadias in babies born to mothers who took the drugs during pregnancy:
- Depakote (Divalproex Sodium)
- Depakote CP
- Depakote ER
- Depakene (valproic acid)
- Depacon (valproate sodium injection)
Hypospadias is a rare congenital birth defect in which the urethra (the tube through which urine drains from the bladder and exits the body) is on the underside of the penis, rather than the tip. As the penis develops in utero, certain hormones stimulate the formation of the urethra and foreskin. Hypospadias results when these hormones fail to function properly, causing the urethra to develop abnormally.
The severity of the condition varies. In the vast majority of cases, the opening of the urethra is near the head of the penis. There has also been rare cases where the opening is at midshaft, at the base of the penis, or beneath the scrotum.
Most babies born with hypospadias are diagnosed soon after birth while still in the hospital. However, in less obvious cases the defect may go overlooked. If you notice your son’s urethral opening is not at the tip of the penis, or if his penis curves downward, contact his doctor immediately.
Signs & Symptoms of Hypospadias
Hypospadias can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to):
- opening of the urethra below the tip on the bottom side of the penis
- abnormal appearance of the glans penis (the tip)
- incomplete foreskin in which the foreskin extends only around the top of the penis
- curvature of the penis during an erection (called chordee)
- buried penis
- abnormal position of scrotum with respect to penis
Complications resulting from hypospadias can include:
- deviation of the urinary stream
- cosmetic issues
- psychological considerations
- potential adverse effects on sexual functioning
Varying degrees of hypospadias result in an opening located anywhere along the length of the urethra. Degrees of the condition are classified according to location, including:
- anterior (50% of cases)
- middle (20% of cases)
- posterior (30% of cases)
Hypospadias has become much more common in the United States and Europe over the last few decades, occurring in approximately one out of every 250 to 300 boys born in the U.S. The condition is second only to undescended testes among congenital birth defects affecting a boy’s genitalia.
Treatment & Expectations (Prognosis)
Baby boys born with hypospadias should not be circumcised, and the foreskin should be preserved for use in later surgical repair. Over 300 types of repairs have been described in the medical literature over the years. Although most of the reports have been in the past half century or so, most basic techniques were described over 100 years ago.
In most cases, surgery is recommended before the child has reached 18 months of age, and can be done as early as four months after birth. During the surgery, the penis is straightened and the hypospadias is repaired using tissue grafts from the foreskin. The entire procedure may require multiple surgeries. The aim of surgery is to achieve the following:
- allow the patient to urinate standing
- correct curvature of the penis (chordee)
- present a cosmetically acceptable appearance
- preserve fertility
Modern aesthetic techniques and increasingly reliable instrumentation and dressing materials have significantly improved clinical outcomes of hypospadias. In certain cases, additional intervention may be needed to correct fistulas and strictures, or to repair a return of the abnormal penis curve. A fistula occurs if a hole develops along the underside of the penis, allowing for a leakage of urine. Additionally, a stricture is a scar that can form causing a narrowing of the urethra. If either of these complications occur, an additional repair will be needed a short time (usually six months) later.
Is there a time limit in filing a hypospadias lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their hypospadias 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 hypospadias birth defects lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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