Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Epilepsy: Exposure To Valproate During Pregnancy Can Impair A Child's Cognitive Development

Date:
April 21, 2009
Source:
Emory University
Summary:
Three-year-olds whose mothers took the antiepileptic drug valproate during pregnancy had average IQs six to nine points lower than children exposed to three other antiepileptic drugs, a landmark multi-center study has found.

Three-year-olds whose mothers took the antiepileptic drug valproate during pregnancy had average IQs six to nine points lower than children exposed to three other antiepileptic drugs, a landmark multi-center study has found.

Related Articles


The study's authors say that women of childbearing age should avoid valproate as a first choice drug for the treatment of epilepsy.

The Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study is following more than 300 children born to women with epilepsy between 1999 and 2004. Investigators at 25 epilepsy centers in the United States and the United Kingdom are participating. At enrollment, the women were taking a single antiepileptic agent: carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin or valproate.

The NEAD study previously found that valproate exposure also increases the risk of anatomical birth defects, even though it was not designed to look for them.

"There are clear risks associated with valproate, and physicians have an obligation to inform women about them," says lead study author Kimford Meador, MD, professor of neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine. "Valproate still has an important role in treating epilepsy, because some patients' seizures can only be controlled with valproate. However, we are recommending that women with epilepsy try another drug first."

Around 15 percent of patients with primary generalized epilepsy respond only to valproate, but this selectivity does not apply to other forms of epilepsy, Meador says.

Meador stresses that women who are pregnant and take valproate should not stop without consulting a physician, to avoid seizures with potentially serious consequences.

Valproate's effects on child IQ appear to be dose-dependent, so it may be possible to reduce risk by taking it in lower doses more frequently or in a sustained release formulation, Meador says.

A child's IQ is usually strongly influenced by the mother's IQ. Out of the four antiepileptic drugs studied, only valproate disrupted this relationship.

Preliminary results describing the children's IQs at 2 years of age were reported at the end of 2006. The studies' findings were strengthened by researchers' ability to include more children and measure their progress after three years. The researchers plan to follow the children until age 6.

Valproate is also prescribed for bipolar disorder and migraine headaches. It is sold under the brand name Depakote. Last year the FDA approved a generic version.

The NEAD study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the United Kingdom Epilepsy Research Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Emory University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Meador, K.J. et al. Cognitive function at 3 years of age after fetal exposure to antiepileptic drugs. New England Journal of Medicine, April 16, 2009
  2. Meador et al. In utero antiepileptic drug exposure: Fetal death and malformations. Neurology, 2006; 67 (3): 407 DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000227919.81208.b2

Cite This Page:

Emory University. "Epilepsy: Exposure To Valproate During Pregnancy Can Impair A Child's Cognitive Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415172227.htm>.
Emory University. (2009, April 21). Epilepsy: Exposure To Valproate During Pregnancy Can Impair A Child's Cognitive Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415172227.htm
Emory University. "Epilepsy: Exposure To Valproate During Pregnancy Can Impair A Child's Cognitive Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415172227.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) A new study found losing just half an hour of sleep could make you gain weight. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) According to a report from the CDC, suicide rates among young women increased from 1994 to 2012 while rates among young men have decreased. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) Liberia&apos;s last Ebola patient has been released, and the country hasn&apos;t recorded a new case in a week. However, fears of another outbreak still exist. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins