In the lead-up to the EMA hearing on valproate, Clare Pelham, Chief Executive of Epilepsy Society, wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health. She asked him to introduce mandatory annual reviews for women who take valproate-related drugs, and who could potentially become pregnant, so that they are fully informed of the risks the drugs pose to unborn babies. The read more
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26 September 2017 The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will today hold a public hearing about the risks of valproate and related drugs during pregnancy. The background to and aims of the hearing are outlined here (document downloaded from the EMA website), and you can follow the event live from 12:45 here (click ‘Public hearing’ tab). Seizure control during pregnancy is very important; however, babies read more
A study published in the scientific journal, Epilepsia, shows that electronic diaries may help women with epilepsy who are planning a pregnancy adhere to treatment schedules. The results of the study, conducted at New York University Langone Epilepsy Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, suggest that electronic diaries could be useful in clinical settings to enhance patient read more
According to a study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, children exposed to antidepressants in the womb have an increased risk of being diagnosed with epilepsy later on if their mothers are also diagnosed with depression during pregnancy*. A child’s risk of epilepsy also appears to increase if its mother takes antidepressants 2-6 months before, but not during, pregnancy. Interestingly, the findings suggest that if read more
Women with Epilepsy who are Overweight Should Be Closely Monitored in Pregnancy to Avoid Complications
Women with epilepsy who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing complications during pregnancy and delivery, according to a new study published in the scientific journal, Epilepsia. The authors state that these women should be regarded as a high-risk group, and that they should be referred to a nutritionist both before an antiepileptic drug (AED) is started and when read more
An Epilepsy Research UK-funded study has shown that taking the antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) levetiracetam or topiramate during pregnancy may not have a negative impact on the baby’s IQ and thinking skills. The research, which also confirms the risks associated with valproate (another AED), is published in Neurology® online. There is accumulating evidence that exposure to valproate before birth is linked to a significantly increased chance of birth defects, developmental problems and lower IQ, especially at higher dosages. However, read more
These are the findings from an Epilepsy Research UK (ERUK) grant, which was awarded to Dr Rachel Charlton, at the University of Bath, in 2014. Background For women with epilepsy pregnancy requires very careful planning, because exposure to some anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) in the womb, valproate in particular, has been linked to an increased chance of birth defects, behavioural problems read more
Yesterday the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published the first edition of a new guideline concerning epilepsy and pregnancy. It is hoped that the guideline will help women with epilepsy make more informed choices during pregnancy, and allow health care professionals to provide better care for these women. Lead Author, Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: read more
New findings suggest that taking topiramate alongside other antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy significantly increases the risk of birth defects.
Folic acid could help to prevent autism among the children of women who need to take antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy, according to a new study.
Today the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) launched a brand new toolkit, to help ensure that women are properly informed, before they become pregnant, of the risks to their unborn child if they take sodium valproate during pregnancy. You can see it here! The toolkit was developed with the input of a number of patient organisations, including Epilepsy Research UK, who welcome read more
A new study has offered evidence that pregnancy has an inherent negative impact on seizure control on epilepsy patients. Conducted by the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland, the research aimed to determine whether being pregnant alters epileptic seizure control in its own right, even with no antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) involved. Published in the medical journal Acta Neurologica read more
A new study has shed light on the additional risk of complications and mortality that exist among pregnant women with epilepsy.
A new study has underlined the heightened risk of impaired intrauterine growth of foetuses in women with epilepsy.
Women of childbearing age need to be better informed of the risks related to the use of sodium valproate during pregnancy. This is according to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which issued a statement on Wednesday (January 21st) calling for clearer warnings about the side-effects of the common antiepileptic drug. Valproate, which is prescribed to around read more
A new study has demonstrated the potential negative impact the antiepileptic drug (AED) valproate can have on the children of women who use the medication during pregnancy. The international study, published in the journal Neurology, aimed to shed light on the risk to children’s IQ associated with frequently prescribed AEDs. To achieve this, the team selected 243 children born to read more
A new study has highlighted the potential dangers of leaving epilepsy untreated during pregnancy, both for mother and child.
Background For women with epilepsy, seizure control during pregnancy is very important; however exposure to some anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) can be harmful to babies’ development. Pregnancy planning for these women therefore comes with some very difficult decisions, and they need to be given thorough advice from a specialist. A number of studies have investigated specific AEDs for adverse effects, but read more
A new study has found the use of levetiracetam during pregnancy does not affect the child’s development between the ages of three and four.
The EMA has confirmed a review into the effects of valproate on pregnant women is being carried out.