Rheinfrank, Abbott, Depakote & Birth Defect

Rheinfrank, Abbott, Depakote & Birth Defect:  A recent case in the United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division ruled on motion to dismiss claims.

The Rheinfrank, Abbott, Depakote & Birth Defect case documents what the children of many women that took Depakote for a health concern (e.g. migraine headache, anti-epilepsy drug), during pregnancy may face today – a potential birth defect (e.g., spina bifida, VSD,…).

The court’s ruling: the Court DENIES Defendants’ Motion.

A brief summary of the facts include:

  • Plaintiff Pamela Rheinfrank claims to have taken Depakote, an anti-seizure medication with an active ingredient called valproate for many years including while pregnant with her daughter, Maria Durham.
  • On July 25, 2004, Ms. Rheinfrank gave birth to Ms. Durham, who was born with multiple severe birth defects and diagnosed with fetal valproate syndrome. Ms. Durham suffers from permanent physical impairment and requires special education.
  • Abbot Laboratories began producing Depakote in 1978.
  • Plaintiffs allege thatDepakote, and its active ingredient valproate, caused the birth defects which afflict Ms. Durham.
  • They allege that scientific research as early as 1980 showed the teratogenicity of Depakote, and that more research since then has confirmed these dangers.
  • Plaintiffs claim that despite knowing these risks (or in negligent disregard to them), Defendants failed to warn consumers of the teratogenic effects of Depakote, placed false and misleading information on product labels and advertising material, and denied a cause and effect relationship between Depakote and teratogenic births.

 To find out more on the case, see Case No. 1:13-cv-144 – August 12, 2013.


Potentialy, the most problematic aspect of Depakote use is when it is used by women during pregnancy.  Unfortunately, it appears that Depakote – when used during pregancy – may be linked to babies being born with some serious birth defects.

Supposedly, the Food and Drug Administration has even reclassified Depakote and released warnings (label changes) regarding the link between Depakote and birth injuries, which may include:  

  • Abnormal Digits
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Brain defects
  • Cardiovascular system problems
  • Cleft hands or feet
  • Cleft palate
  • Club Foot
  • Club hands or fingers
  • Congential hip dislocation
  • Craniostenosis
  • Facial dysmorphism
  • Hydranencephaly
  • Hypospadias
  • Polydactyly
  • Scoliosis
  • Skull malformations
  • Spina Bifida 
  • Syndactyly
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Ventricular septal Defect

For more on Depakote and Birth Defects, please visit this link – Depakote & Birth Defects.


At the Gooch Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing our clients reliable representation for even the most challenging cases.

If you took Depakote and your child has suffered any potentially serious health problems, side effects or birth defects (e.g., spina bifida), please consider speaking with a Depakote lawsuit attorney.  

Our Depakote lawyers can help you determine the best course of action as these health concerns your child is experiencing may be related to the use of Depakote during pregnancy.  To talk to a depakote lawyer about a depakote birth defects lawsuit, please contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.