Navigation Links
Fetal Exposure to Epilepsy Drug Might Raise Autism Risk: Study
Date:12/5/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Children exposed to the epilepsy drug valproate have a nearly three times higher risk of having an autism spectrum disorder, new research finds.

Researchers in Denmark used national birth data that included nearly 656,000 children born in that country between 1996 and 2006 to 428,000 women. Using a national prescription drug registry, they identified women who had filled a prescription for valproate (Depakote) shortly before pregnancy through the day of the child's birth.

Using the Danish Psychiatric Register, researchers then identified children who were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, which can include both severe and milder forms of autism, and children with early-onset, more severe autism.

After taking into account certain factors such as maternal age, the child's gender and other factors that influence autism risk, researchers found that children exposed in utero to valproate were 2.6 times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder and almost five times more likely to have early-onset autism.

The results were similar whether women were taking valproate alone or valproate along with other epilepsy drugs, leading researchers to conclude the dangers to fetal development were posed by the valproate and not another drug.

"We know from previous studies valproic acid is associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations, and in recent years some animal and human studies have suggested maybe there are neuropsychological effects, like autism," said study author Dr. Jakob Christensen, a consultant neurologist at Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark. "Our study adds more evidence of that."

However, he added, "even though we found an increased risk, it's still a very small risk."

Of their sample of almost 656,000 kids, the researchers said they found 508 who were likely exposed to valproic acid before birth. Of those, 14 developed autism.

Among the rest of the sample, about 0.8 percent of kids not exposed to the epilepsy drug developed autism. That would mean that if you took a group of 508 kids not exposed to the drug, about five of those would be diagnosed with the disorder, Christensen said.

The research is slated to be presented Monday at the American Epilepsy Society meeting in Baltimore.

Prior research has also raised concerns about valproic acid during pregnancy, leading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Neurology to issue warnings to women of childbearing age about valproate and other drugs in its class. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the offspring of women who took valproic acid during pregnancy are two to 12 times more likely to have serious births defects affecting the brain, heart and limbs.

And in a second study to be presented at the same meeting, researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom report that fetal exposure to valproic acid is associated with lower IQs at age 3 years.

For women with epilepsy of childbearing age, the increasing body of evidence that valproic acid may be dangerous to the fetus may present them with a difficult decision to make, said study author Dr. Kimford Meador, a professor of neurology at Emory University in Atlanta.

"You take all the research together, and it doesn't look like a very good drug for childbearing age," Meador said, noting that many pregnancies are unplanned.

However, for some women, valproic acid controls seizures when other medications have failed; for them, stopping the mediation when they're pregnant may not be an option, he said.

"About 15 percent of women do not respond to other drugs available, but they do respond to valproate," Meador said. "That's the difficulty -- it's not a simple yes-no thing."

Because this research was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on epilepsy.

SOURCES: Jakob Christensen, M.D., Ph.D, consultant neurologist, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; Kimford Meador, M.D, professor, neurology, Emory University, Atlanta; Dec. 5, 2011, presentation, American Epilepsy Society annual meeting, Baltimore


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Fetal stem cells from placenta may help maternal heart recover from injury
2. Links to Mental Illness Seen in Fetal Brains: Study
3. Fetal Exposure to Magnetic Fields From Appliances, Power Lines May Up Kids Asthma Risk
4. NICHD renews maternal-fetal medicine, neonatal ties with Women & Infants
5. Fetal Exposure to Common Epilepsy Drugs May Harm Kids IQ: FDA
6. Fetal electrocardiogram helps in early detection of neonatal acidosis
7. Fetal programming of disease risk to next generation depends on parental gender
8. The TET1 enzyme steers us through fetal development and fights cancer
9. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine commends FDA on makena announcement
10. Study finds that electronic fetal heart rate monitoring greatly reduces infant mortality
11. Study finds even with fetal lung maturity, babies delivered prior to 39 weeks are at risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fetal Exposure to Epilepsy Drug Might Raise Autism Risk: Study 
(Date:4/28/2016)... VATICAN CITY (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 ... ... medicine is on the world stage this week. A group of researchers and ... Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and Its Cultural Impact ” and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... Head Over Heels Athletic Arts’ gymnast, Brooklyn Varize, has ... be held at the University of Montana on April 28-May 1. Varize will compete ... , In order to qualify, Varize needed to place top seven all-around in her ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Cosmetic Town, an online plastic surgery community, announces the relaunch ... recently revamped and upgraded to allow even more interaction between doctors and patients as ... According to the senior editor of Cosmetic Town, “We are excited that our ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... In 2011, TIME magazine ... the emerging field of biomechatronics, technology that marries human physiology with electromechanics. He continues ... He is also the Founder of BionX , a leader in the field ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... ... One way to ignore solid evidence is to dismiss research because, “it ... baby out with the bathwater when we ignore all studies because some are fatally ... making better use of education policy research. , “When readers heed basic cautions, research ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... , Net Sales of $1.90 billion represent an increase ... period, and an increase of 1.2% on an adjusted pro ... first quarter were $0.52 reported, a decrease of 47.5% from ... 29.9% over the prior year period , The Company ... Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH) ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016 TapImmune,Inc. (TPIV), a ... and gene-based immunotherapeutics and vaccines for the treatment of cancer ... the 3rd Annual Growth Capital Expo to be ... at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Company ... 4 th by Dr. John N. Bonfiglio ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016   ... 42% Growth in Recurring Consumable Sales  Clinical ... Mauna Kea Technologies (Euronext: MKEA, OTCQX: MKEAY) inventor of ... its sales for the first quarter ended March 31, ... the execution of its commercial strategy. First ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: