Depakote is a drug available by prescription to treat manic episodes of bipolar disorder or manic depression. In the past, Depakote was used to treat migraine headaches and a standard form of epilepsy known as complex partial seizures.
What Are the Dangers of Depakote?
Depakote has been connected to different adverse side effects, which may be life-threatening.
The first significant effect is liver damage, which is particularly common in the first six months of Depakote use. This danger is increased in kids less than two years of age and patients who are simultaneously using other anticonvulsant medications.
Depakote has also been linked to severe pancreatic disease in adults and children. This effect can occur during Depakote use, and the risk is the same for patients of all ages.
Depakote may also have harmful effects on the brain in patients who also suffer from urea cycle disorder.
What Is the Status of Depakote?
Depakote is currently available by prescription.
What Should I Do If I Feel That Depakote Has Had a Bad Effects on My Health?
If you feel that Depakote or any other drugs you may be taking are hurting your health, you should discuss the problem with the physician who prescribed the medication. If you do not get answers that seem satisfactory from your physician, you should consult another doctor also.
Suppose you think you have already experienced adverse effects on your health from taking Depakote or other prescription medication. In that case, you could consult with an unsafe drugs lawyer, who would be a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice or product liability lawsuits.
A malpractice or products liability attorney will examine the facts of your case to determine whether any negative effects on your health are the result of an error on the part of the physician or other health care provider in prescribing the medication. Or, the attorney may determine that the medication itself is defective and the fault lies with the pharmaceutical company that made the medication.
You can also report adverse drug reactions to the MedWatch program of the FDA. The MedWatch program exists to receive reports of severe reactions, product quality problems, therapeutic failure, and product use mistakes with medical products for individuals. The types of products that can be reported include drugs, biologic products, medical instruments, dietary supplements, baby formula, and makeup.
If a physician prescribes the medication you wish to report, you can ask your physician to help with the report. Nevertheless, if you do not want to involve your physician, you can fill out the form yourself. Or, you might wish to consult an attorney about making a report to the MedWatch program. The FDA acknowledges receipt of these reports.
It is essential to keep in mind that reporting adverse experiences with medications to the MedWatch program may help improve the regulation of medications by the FDA. Nevertheless, it is not a way to get damages for any injury that the medication may have caused you. That requires a lawsuit.
Should I Join a Class Action Lawsuit or Sue the Manufacturer on My Own?
There are pluses and minuses to both class actions and suing a pharmaceutical manufacturer on one’s own. A person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit is called the “plaintiff,” and the person or entity who is sued is the “defendant.
Some of the positives to regard when trying to choose between the two options are as follows:
- Plaintiffs are stronger as members of a large class of claimants;
- Plaintiffs are in a stronger negotiating position and are more likely to be able to settle before trial, which lowers the expenses and bypasses the uncertainty of a trial;
- When a plaintiff joins with others, it lowers the cost of the lawsuit for each of them (cases involving medical malpractice or pharmaceuticals can be costly because they might involve many experts);
- As with most personal injury claims, plaintiffs only pay the attorney fees if they win money, in which case it comes from their award;
- Class action plaintiffs have a longer period in which to file a lawsuit;
- If your claim is for a relatively small amount, it is probably not worth the cost and aggravation to prosecute a lawsuit (also, most attorneys are not interested in small-value cases. A plaintiff is better off aggregating their claim with those of others);
- There may be a massive disparity between what the different claimants recover if each proceeds on an individual basis;
- Less strain on the court system;
Among the negatives of class action lawsuits are the following:
- Compensation for an individual plaintiff in a class action is usually limited to economic damages and rebates;
- If you want to recover a substantial amount of money damages for your pain and suffering or other non-economic damages, a class action may not be the best option;
- The individual plaintiff has no say in the decisions made during the legal process;
- If you want more control and personal involvement, an individual action may be a better choice;
- If you join a class action, you give up your right to make an individual claim;
- If the class action does not succeed or if you believe that your award, in the end, is unsatisfactory, you will not be able to pursue an individual action later on.
If you have experienced adverse consequences after taking Depakote, you should see your physician immediately.
What Are Unsafe Drugs?
Many Americans are seriously hurt and die every year from adverse reactions and side effects associated with prescription medications. Drug manufacturers are legally responsible for marketing medications that are safe to use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency accountable for assessing the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs before they are sold to the public.
Nevertheless, even FDA-approved drugs may still cause dangerous side effects not identified during the approval process. Deadly effects can also result from errors in the administration of medications or, if a person is taking more than one medication at a time, from the interaction of drugs in the body.
If you were injured because of prescription medication, you might need to file a prescription drug lawsuit. This can help you get compensation from healthcare providers or the pharmaceutical manufacturer of the drug.
Drugs That May Be Considered Unsafe
A high alert drug or medication (HAM) is a medication that carries an increased risk of causing substantial harm if it is used in a way other than precisely as prescribed. These high-alert medications are treacherous because small changes in the dose given or in levels of the drug in a person’s blood can lead to critical events. Moreover, the negative events caused by an error in administering HAMs are constant, life-threatening, or even permanent and can lead to disability, hospitalization, or death.
These drugs, such as Depakote, are different from over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin. While over-the-counter medications can be misused, a slight variance in the amount taken would not be possibly life-threatening.
HAMs are different. Minor differences in the amount given can be critical and might even lead to death. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has three categories of high-risk medications according to the settings in which they are used.
The categories are as follows:
- Medications that are high alert medications in community/ambulatory care settings;
- Medications that are high alert medications in acute care settings;
- Medications that are high alert medications in long-term care settings.
Will I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Unsafe Drugs Lawsuit?
Suppose you or a family member has been injured by a prescription medication, including one that is not on the HAMs list. In that case, you should consult with an experienced class action lawyer. All drugs come with side effects, and some can be life-threatening. Also, one drug can interact with another.
A person hurt by taking prescription medications may have a claim against the doctor who prescribed the drug, other healthcare workers involved in administering the drug, or the pharmaceutical company that made the drug.
An experienced personal injury attorney can review the facts and advise you whether a lawsuit is the right approach in your situation. They could be able to locate class action lawsuits that you might join. You are most likely to achieve the best outcome if you consult an experienced personal injury attorney.