Three of the UK’s epilepsy charities have created a survey to assess how aware women aged 16-50 are about the possible risks of taking sodium valproate during pregnancy. It launched on Monday, April 18 and will run for the next six weeks.
Stories about pregnancy
There has been a scientific study carried out in Denmark. It looked at 650,000 children born between 1996 and 2006. The study found that the children’s risk of having any type of autism spectrum disorder was increased, when certain mothers took valproate during pregnancy.
There is already a known risk with taking sodium valproate during pregnancy. It increases the risk of children being born with birth defects and thinking problems. The new research also shows that valproate significantly increases the risk of having a child with autism or an autism spectrum disorder.
Research in the UK suggests that children born to mothers who took an epilepsy medicine during pregnancy are six to ten times more likely to have a neurodevelopmental disorder. The research found that children born to mothers who took sodium valproate (Epilim) were more likely to develop autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyspraxia.
Researchers, led by Shuk-Li Man, analysed prescribing trends for anti-epileptic drugs from 1994 to 2009. The results show that prescribing of newer medicines has steadily increased. Lamotrigine has been the most popular medicine prescribed in pregnancy since 2004. However, the use of carbamazepine and sodium valporate has decreased.