Navigation Links
Epilepsy Drug in Pregnancy Linked to Autism Risk in Study
Date:1/30/2013

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Women taking the epilepsy drug valproate (Depakote) while pregnant are at increased risk of having children with autism and other developmental problems, according to a small British study.

Valproate is prescribed for epilepsy as well as certain psychiatric disorders and migraines. Other studies have shown its use during pregnancy is associated with birth defects and, more recently, lower IQ in school-age children.

The American Academy of Neurology advises against valproate use during pregnancy, and some experts believe it should not be used by women of childbearing age.

"Women for whom valproate is a treatment option should discuss the risks and benefits of this drug with their doctor prior to pregnancy, to ensure that their health and that of the potential child is optimized," said Rebecca Bromley, a clinical psychologist and research associate at the University of Liverpool, who led the new study.

"Planning a pregnancy in collaboration with your doctor is important if you are taking antiepileptic drugs," she added. And evidence suggests the damage to the fetus occurs early in pregnancy, according to the study.

But women should not alter their medication without talking to their doctor, she noted.

For the study, published online Jan. 30 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Bromley's team collected data on more than 500 pregnant women between 2000 and 2004. About half had epilepsy, of whom all but 34 took medicine to control their seizures.

The drugs they took included carbamazepine (Tegretol), valproate and lamotrigine (Lamictal), the researchers noted.

Of the 415 children for whom data was available, 19 were diagnosed with a developmental problem by age 6 years. Three of them also had a physical handicap.

Twelve of these children had an autism spectrum disorder, and one was also diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the researchers found.

Three children had ADHD alone and four had dyspraxia, a condition causing poor physical coordination and clumsiness.

These neurodevelopmental problems were far more common among children whose mothers had epilepsy (7.46 percent) compared with those whose mothers didn't have the seizure disorder (1.87 percent). And they were detected more often among children whose mothers took valproate by itself or in combination with other drugs, the study authors found.

Twelve percent of the children of mothers who took valproate alone had developmental problems as did 15 percent of those whose mothers took valproate along with other medications, the researchers reported.

Also, the likelihood of a neurodevelopmental disorder appeared to increase with higher doses of valproate, they noted.

Overall, children exposed to valproate alone or with other drugs were six times and 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with a developmental problem, respectively, compared with children of mothers who did not have epilepsy, the study authors said.

In addition, boys were three times more likely to be diagnosed with a developmental disorder than girls.

Children with autism have trouble with communication and social interactions, and its incidence is increasing.

Bromley said she hopes to continue the research in larger studies.

Meanwhile, children exposed to valproate in the womb should be monitored, the authors said. However, "it is important to stress that not every child is affected," Bromley said.

"Exposure to the drug is associated with an increase in the level of risk, but we do not yet understand the mechanism behind the association," she added.

Other experts said that valproate is overused.

"There is still a lot of valproate being used in women of childbearing age, probably more than we should be using," said Dr. Kimford Meador, a professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Valproate is known to increase the risk of birth defects in higher doses, Meador said. "It is the antiepileptic drug that has the most risk for developmental disorders," he added.

"We have a lot of alternate drugs that can be tried," he said.

Only half of the prescriptions for valproate in the United States are for epilepsy; the rest are for psychiatric disorders and migraines, he noted.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the epilepsy center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, agreed that valproate use should be limited.

"The increased risk of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes, including autism, must be viewed in light of the similarly increased risk of major congenital malformations," Devinsky said.

Together, he added, these risks "should make every doctor treating a woman of childbearing age with valproate make sure it is truly essential."

More information

For more information on pregnancy and epilepsy medications, visit the Epilepsy Foundation.

SOURCES: Rebecca Bromley, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and research associate, University of Liverpool, U.K.; Kimford Meador, M.D., professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta; Orrin Devinsky, M.D., director, Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, and professor of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Jan. 20, 2013, Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Perampanel for epilepsy: No proof of added benefit
2. Temple scientists find cancer-causing virus in the brain, potential connection to epilepsy
3. Study Links Epilepsy Drug in Pregnancy to Lower IQ
4. e-pill Announces Epilepsy Emergency Id Bracelet Disguised as a Discreet ALERT Watch
5. Study Suggests Genetic Link Between Epilepsy, Migraine
6. Dr. Marcelo Lancman, Medical Director of the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group (NEREG) of New York and New Jersey Authors Book on New Epilepsy for Patients and Loved Ones
7. Long-terms benefits follow brain surgery for certain forms of epilepsy
8. University Hospitals Neurological Institute to present 6th International 2013 Epilepsy Colloquium
9. Fasting may benefit patients with epilepsy, Johns Hopkins Childrens Center study suggests
10. Elsevier launches new open access journal -- Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports
11. Novel treatment strategies for epilepsy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Epilepsy Drug in Pregnancy Linked to Autism Risk in Study
(Date:2/27/2017)... ... February 27, 2017 , ... POUGHKEEPSIE, N. Y. – Peer-reviewed guidelines from the ... studies, the Center for Disease Control ( CDC ) and Infectious Diseases Society of ... Liegner, M.D. has compiled into a single volume a compelling argument that the disease ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... ... February 27, 2017 , ... Sunshine Coast ... in British Columbia, Canada, at https://www.sunshinecoasthealthcentre.ca/ , is proud to announce the ... Mackenzie Alsager, showcases the Centre's commitment to innovation in drug rehab and alcohol ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... ... February 27, 2017 , ... Silicon Valley Hair Institute, ... announce an upgrade to the company's Yelp listing. Bay Area residents struggling from ... diverse as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, hair transplantation techniques such as Follicular ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... MICHIGAN (PRWEB) , ... February 25, 2017 , ... The ... Kim Jong-un, heightened awareness and concern over nerve agents and the deadly use of ... the human nervous system and how even small doses can be lethal. , Jay ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... ... February 26, 2017 , ... ... lab became the world’s first to be ISO/IEC 17025:2005 INAB accredited for Der ... , ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is the globally recognised standard that sets out requirements for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... 23, 2017  The particle counters market is ... from USD 275.9 million in 2016, at a ... report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p04718602-summary/view-report.html The growing ... R&D, and growth in manufacturing industries in emerging ... for particle counters. On the other hand, technical ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... The latest research Urinary Incontinence Drugs Price Analysis ... the global Urinary Incontinence market. The research answers the following ... marketed for Urinary Incontinence and their clinical attributes? How are they ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... YORK , Feb. 23, 2017  Genesis Healthcare ... Company. The announcement was made by Bill Monast ... David Hartley and Nathan Feltman , executives ... Genesis Healthcare Services, LLC. This acquisition ... largest provider of technology enabled durable medical equipment (DME) ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: