Do you have a spina bifida birth defect lawsuit? Spina bifida is a birth defect where the spinal cord remains open. Children with this birth defect often have lifelong disabilities, including paralysis. Certain drugs taken during pregnancy may increase your chance of having a baby with spina bifida and other birth defects. These medications include SSRI antidepressants and anti-seizure medications such as Depakote and Depakene. Mothers who have had a child with a birth defect are now contacting lawyers at The Schmidt Firm, PLLC for a spina bifida birth defect lawsuit. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Spina Bifida Linked to Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Symbyax, Efexor, Depakote, Depakene
SSRI Antidepressant Medications have been linked to birth defects, including spina bifida. This class of medications include the following drugs:
- Paxil, Seroxat (paroxetine)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro, Cipralex (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin, Zyban (bupropion)
- Effexor (vanlafaxine)
Anti-Seizure Medications have been linked to an increased risk of spina bifida, according to new research. Drugs in this group include:
- Depakote CP
- Depakote ER
If you are taking any of the medications listed above, do not start or stop taking them without first consulting a doctor.If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking. Some medications can cause serious birth defects, and if you have had a child with a birth defect, consider filing a Spina Bifida birth defect lawsuit. You may be entitled to compensation.
What is Spina Bifida?
Spina bifida is a birth defect affecting the neural tube, which is tube that contains the spinal cord at the base of the skull. The term “spina bifida” literally translates to “cleft spine,” and it is the most common birth defect of the neural tube, affecting 1,500-2,000 children per year in the United States.
It is a birth defect that develops while a baby is in the womb, during the first month of pregnancy. When all fetuses are forming, the neural tube is open at first. During the development of the spinal cord within the first few weeks of life, this tube closes, protecting the delicate nerves from the amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb.
There is evidence that certain medications, including antidepressants, Depakote, and Depakene may interfere with the delicate fetal development process. If you have taken a medication during pregnancy and had a child with a birth defect, you may have a spina bifida birth defect lawsuit.
Types of Spina Bifida
Normally, the nerve fibers in the spinal cord are protected from the environment by the vertebrae, skin, and meninges, which form a protective covering. When these structures fail to form properly, the defect is called spina bifida. In severe cases, the spinal cord is exposed to amniotic fluid in the womb and may be severely damaged. In mild cases, the spinal cord is protected by a layer of skin, but other parts of the neural tube fail to develop.
The four most common types of Spina Bifida are:
- Occulta: This is the least severe type of spina bifida. People with this birth defect often have no symptoms, no disabilities, and may never require treatment. This type of spina bifida occurs when the vertebrae form abnormally, but the spinal cord is protected by a layer of skin.
- Closed neural tube defect: This is a slightly more severe than spina bifida occulta, and encompasses a wide array of neural tube defects. The deformities may include bone, fat, or membranes that normally protect the spinal cord. If the deformities are mild, the person may show no symptoms and have no disabilities. Serious deformities cause incomplete paralysis or incontinence.
- Meningocele: This is a neural tube defect that does not affect the spinal cord itself, but rather the spinal fluid or meninges. There is an opening in the vertebrae that allows these structures to protrude outside the body. They may be covered by a layer of skin. In mild cases, the person may show no symptoms. In serious cases, the person may have severe paralysis.
- Myelomeningocele: This birth defect occurs when there is an opening in the spine that exposes the spinal cord itself to the environment. This is the most severe and debilitating form of spina bifida. When a the spinal cord is exposed to amniotic fluid in the womb, it can cause severe damage that will cause the person to be completely paralyzed. In addition, the person often also has sensory deficits and incontinence.
Signs & Symptoms of Spina Bifida
Symptoms of spina bifida vary widely among patients depending on the type of birth defect and the severity. The most common side effect is paralysis of the legs caused by nerve damage in the spnal cord. Many people born with spina bifida need a medical device to help them walk (crutches, leg braces, or a wheelchair). Spina bifida is not a neurological birth defect, and most children have normal intelligence.
Spina bifida can be diagnosed while the baby is still developing, usually around the 16th to 18th week of pregnancy. It may be diagnosed with an ultrasound, a test of the amniotic fluid, or by testing the mother’s blood. A health-care provider will look for abnormally high levels of “alpha-fetoprotein” (AFP), which would indicate that the unborn child has an “open” spinal cord and is leaking AFP into the womb. If your health-care provider diagnosed your child with this birth defect, you may have a spina bifida birth defect lawsuit.
An “open” spinal cord will be visually apparent as soon as the baby is born, as an opening at the base of the baby’s skill. If the child has “closed” spina bifida, it may not be immediately diagnosed. An MRI or X-ray of the vertebrae can help a doctor diagnose spina bifida.
Treatment & Prognosis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for spina bifida. If there is damage to the spinal cord, there is no way to heal it or reverse the symptoms. However, in recent years, there have been advances in modern surgical techniques. If spina bifida is diagnosed early, a doctor may suggest correcting it before the baby is born. This involves a fetal surgery, in which an open neural tube defect is surgically closed, and the baby is allowed to continue developing in the womb.
There may be serious complications with this type of surgery, however, including premature delivery, hemorrhage, and fetal death. Parents and doctors must weigh these risks against the benefit of closing the defect early and reducing the damage to nerve fibers.
How do I contact a Lawyer for a Spina Bifida Birth Defect Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting drug-induced birth defect cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has had a child with a birth defect after taking a medication, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Spina Bifida Birth Defect Lawsuit Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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