“After the scandal of the devastating birth defects caused by the morning-sickness drug Thalidomide in the Fifties, it seems inconceivable that the same situation could occur again. But for thousands of families in the UK, the word Epilim has the same sinister connotations.
It has been prescribed since 1978 and reports of the ingredient sodium valproate causing birth defects such as spina bifida go back almost as far. FACS is believed to have affected up to 20,000 babies, TEN TIMES MORE THAN THALIDOMIDE…
In 2010, Epilim was taken by more than 21,500 women aged between 20 and 39 for epilepsy and other conditions. IT IS INDICATED IN 80 PER CENT OF CASES OF FACS…
In 2008, Emma Murphy phoned her partner Joe at work. ‘I know what’s wrong with the children,’ she said. For four years the couple had been perplexed by the health problems that affected their daughters Chloe and Lauren and their son Luke, and THEIR GP HAD CONSISTENTLY DISMISSED THEIR CONCERNS.
It was only after watching a television programme about Fetal Anticonvulsant Syndrome (FACS) that Emma realised the children, who all had special needs, had been irreversibly damaged in the womb by the anti-epileptic drugs she had taken since she was 12…
Their first three children were born prematurely. Within 24 hours they became limp and unresponsive. All had delayed speech and Lauren and Luke were late walkers. Lauren was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged two…
All five children have hypermobile joints, which means they are excessively bendy and painful at night. Lauren needs a walking frame and she and Luke have support workers at school. Joe has been forced to give up work because of Emma’s epilepsy and the children’s needs.”
“As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I asked my GP whether my medication was safe… I was under a team of medics throughout all my pregnancies. I was never warned…
Our lives revolve around caring for the children’s complicated health needs and we don’t know what the future holds. I want the medical profession to be educated about it and for women to be in a position to make an informed choice.”
“Epilim may affect about 560 babies every year, and 10,000 to 20,000 since being introduced to the UK. About ten per cent of foetuses exposed to sodium valproate will have a major congenital malformation such as cleft palate. Twelve per cent are likely to be diagnosed with a neuro-developmental disorder.”Consultant neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan says:
“These days we avoid putting women of childbearing age on it as a first-choice drug. Not all doctors are aware of the risk.”Consultant neurologist Dr Jim Morrow says:
“Major convulsive seizures could cause injury to the baby or a miscarriage but there are other effective drugs available that are known to be safe during pregnancy.”In 2006, 140 families launched a case against the manufacturer of Epilim. It collapsed in 2011.
They never told us about Epilim, did they?
20,000 children (and their parents) f***ed up by one drug? When there were 'other effective drugs available?' And it’s till being prescribed? And, even now, 'not all doctors are aware of the risk?' Epilim has done up to ten times more damage than Thalidomide and they never bothered to tell us?
You know, ladies and gentlemen, this really is pretty instructive. In the early 1960s, and for decades afterwards, the Thalidomide story was really big news. When were we warned about the side effects of Epilim? I didn't know about them until this morning. And yet the drug seems to have affected ten times as many children!
Back then we cared. Back then, they cared. They'd make a fuss in our behalf when big business took liberties. Things are different now. Nowadays, when the rich and powerful make a mess, those who cared back in the sixties are more likely to sweep the dirt under the carpet than clean house.
As I keep on telling you, ladies and gentlemen, THEY are at war with us.
They really are.
On 24 June 2013, The Mail told us this:
"Some popular antidepressants (Citalopram and Paroxetine are mentioned in the article) could double the risk of a child being born with a heart defect. SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) are used in up to 1 in 6 women of child-bearing age."
"We make a quite a lot of effort really to discourage women from smoking or drinking even small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy, and yet we're perhaps not yet saying the same about antidepressant medication, which is going to be carrying similar - if not greater - risks...
They aren't worth taking for women with mild to moderate depression."