Navigation Links
Epilepsy Drug Impairs Baby's Intelligence
Date:4/15/2009

When taken during pregnancy, valproate lowers IQ, study finds,,,,

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- When a pregnant woman takes the epilepsy medication valproate, her child's intelligence may be lowered for at least three years, and possibly beyond, a new study suggests.

Reporting in the April 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that when tested at age 3, children who were exposed to valproate in the womb had IQ scores up to nine points lower than children exposed to other epilepsy medications in utero.

The problem is, many women with epilepsy can only get good control of their seizures with valproate.

"We're not saying never use valproate, but try other drugs first," said the study's lead author, Dr. Kimford Meador, a professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "We don't think that valproate should be used as a first choice for any woman of childbearing age. Other drugs should be used first."

Meador said the recommendation pertains to all women of childbearing age, not just pregnant women, because more than half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and any damage that may occur to the baby may occur before a woman even realizes that she's pregnant. Additionally, the drug has been shown to cause congenital birth defects in about 10 percent of children exposed to it in the womb, according to Meador.

For women currently taking valproate, sold under the brand name Depakote, Meador emphasized that no one should stop taking epilepsy medication abruptly, because this could result in seizures.

"Don't stop taking any medications without talking to your doctor," Meador stressed. "But, if you're on this medication, ask your doctor about it."

While the majority of children born to women with epilepsy are normal, animal studies have suggested that exposure to epilepsy medications might be associated with "cognitive and behavioral difficulties," according to background information in the study.

To assess what effects these medications might have on babies, the Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study was begun. The study includes 309 children from 25 epilepsy centers in the United Kingdom and the United States. All of the children's mothers were taking one of four epilepsy medications during pregnancy, including valproate, carbamazapine, lamotrigine and phenytoin.

The researchers plan to assess the children periodically until they're 6 years old. The current report focuses on outcomes when the children were 3 years old.

After compensating for other factors that might influence a child's intelligence -- such as maternal IQ, maternal age, the dose of anti-epileptic medication, gestational age at birth and the mother's intake of folic acid -- the researchers found that children exposed to valproate during pregnancy had significantly lower IQ scores than the children exposed to the other medications.

The average IQ for children exposed in the womb to lamotrigine was 101, for phenytoin it was 99, and for carbamazepine it was 98. Children exposed to valproate in the womb scored an average of 92 on the IQ test, according to the study.

The researchers also found that the drug's effect on IQ was "dose-dependent," meaning that the higher the dose of medication, the more effect on the child's intelligence.

Meador said the researchers suspect that the medication may cause a loss of brain cells in the baby, like fetal alcohol syndrome does.

"The take-away message from this study is that the danger of neurocognitive impairment is real with the use of valproic acid (valproate)," said Dr. Inna Vaisleib, a pediatric neurologist and epileptologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"Not using valproic acid in women of childbearing age is a good idea, as approximately half of all pregnancies are unplanned," she said, adding that "epilepsy is common, and about one in 200 pregnant women are receiving anti-epileptic drugs."

Vaisleib cautioned strongly against stopping any medications without first consulting a neurologist, because seizures can also be damaging to a growing fetus, as well as to the expectant mother.

More information

To learn more about epilepsy and pregnancy, visit the Epilepsy Foundation.



SOURCES: Kimford Meador, M.D., professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta; Inna Vaisleib, M.D., pediatric neurologist and epileptologist, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; April 16, 2009, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. NEWSWEEK Cover: The Mystery of Epilepsy
2. Video: Celebrities and Thousands of Walkers Unite at Nations Capitol to Raise Awareness About Seizures and Epilepsy
3. Texas Siblings Share Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
4. Renowned Pediatrician Joins Fight for Epilepsy Awareness for Purple Day
5. Minnesota Youth Shares Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
6. Louisiana Youth Shares Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
7. Mississippi Youth Shares Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
8. Colorado Youth Shares Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
9. Georgia Youth Shares Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
10. Nevada Youth Shares Epilepsy Message On Capitol Hill
11. Virginia Youth Shares Epilepsy Message on Capitol Hill
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media ... Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice ... X users can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently ... of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada ... become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by ... to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from ... the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to ... Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to ... fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. ... his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in ... to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dehaier Medical Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: DHRM ) ... medical devices and wearable sleep respiratory products in ... with Hongyuan Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred ... to develop Dehaier,s new Internet medical technology business. ... Hongyuan Supply Chain,s sales platform to reach Dehaier,s dealers ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... LEXINGTON, Mass. , June 24, 2016   ... specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today ... when Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set ... 2016. "This is an important milestone for ... "It will increase shareholder awareness of our progress in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing ... thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: