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I feel like I killed my son: Epilepsy drug Sodium Valproate linked to death

So ran the headline in the Times newspaper in December 2022 following a recent Inquest into the death of a 21 year old man in April 2022.

The article says “Manchester West’s coroner, Peter Sigee, said exposure in the womb to sodium valproate had left Jake Aldcroft with disabilities that were a contributory factor in him developing fatal brain damage.”

The article goes on to say that this was “the first death linked to an epilepsy drug that can be extremely dangerous if taken during pregnancy has been recorded by a coroner, sparking fears for thousands of other families.”

What is Sodium Valproate?

Sodium Valproate, more commonly known as Epilim or Episenta, is an effective anti-epileptic drug commonly used in adults and children “which causes physical malformations, autism and developmental delay in many children when it is taken by their mothers during pregnancy”

The Article also says, “like thousands of other women who have epilepsy, she was given no warning about the risks of taking sodium valproate while pregnant with her son, despite regulators knowing it could cause deformities in babies.”

Sadly, the risks of taking this drug during pregnancy have been known about for a very long time.

Current guidance is that during pregnancy, “valproate must not be used unless there is no suitable alternative treatment; in such cases, access to counselling about the risks should be provided and a Risk Acknowledgement Form signed by both specialist and patient.”

The article concludes, “Ministers have ordered a review into how a financial redress scheme might work to help the estimated 20,000 families affected.”

Epilepsy drug claims – Sodium Valproate Syndrome

Sadly, this means there could be many thousands of people who may have been negligently damaged by anti-epilepsy drugs before they were born, and may be entitled to compensation for clinical negligence; especially if their mother was not informed of the dangers of taking this drug during that pregnancy.

Not everything that can go wrong in healthcare leads to a claim for clinical negligence. In fact, only a small percentage do so. However, if you, or a loved one are affected by clinical negligence then please do contact us for a no-obligation review. If we take your case on then we can offer a ‘no win, no fee’ funding arrangement.

Read the full article here.