Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exposure to antiepileptic drug in womb linked to autism risk

Date:
January 31, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Children whose mothers take the antiepileptic drug sodium valproate while pregnant are at significantly increased risk of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, suggests a small study.

Children whose mothers take the antiepileptic drug sodium valproate while pregnant are at significantly increased risk of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, suggests a small study published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The authors base their findings on children born to 528 pregnant women between 2000 and 2004 in the North West of England.

Just fewer than half the mums (243) had epilepsy, all but 34 of whom took antiepileptic drugs during their pregnancy. Fifty nine mums took carbamazepine; 59 took valproate; 36 took lamotrigine; 41 took a combination; and 15 took other drugs.

The children's physical and intellectual development was assessed at the ages of 12 months, three and six years. Information was also obtained from their mothers about whether they had had to consult specialists about their child's behaviour, development, educational progress or health.

Full data on all three assessments were available for 415 children. In all, 19 children had been diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder by the time they were six years old, three of whom also had a physical abnormality.

Of these, 12 had a form of autism, one of whom was also diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Three had ADHD alone, while a further four had dyspraxia, a condition that results in poor physical coordination and excessive clumsiness.

Neurodevelopmental problems were significantly more common among those children whose mums had epilepsy -- 7.46% compared with 1.87% of those whose mums did not have the condition.

And those children whose mums had taken valproate singly or in combination with other drugs while pregnant were significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental condition than were those whose mums taking other drugs to treat their condition.

When all the figures were analysed and factors likely to influence the results accounted for, the findings showed that children exposed to valproate alone in the womb were six times more likely to be diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder. Those exposed to valproate plus other drugs were 10 times more likely to do so than were children whose mums did not have the condition.

More than one in 10 (12%; 6 out of 50) children whose mums had taken valproate alone during their pregnancy had a neurodevelopmental problem, as did one in seven (15%; 3 out of 20) of those whose mums had taken valproate with other drugs.

No child born to a mum with epilepsy, but who didn't take drugs for the condition during her pregnancy, was diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder, although the numbers of women in this group were small, caution the authors.

Boys were three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder, but no significant associations were found for the mother's age or IQ, length of pregnancy, or epileptic seizure type.

The authors point out that other research has pointed to the potentially harmful effects of valproate on the developing fetus, and that the findings of the current study back other preliminary research. But further research would be needed before definitive conclusions could be reached, they caution.

"If sodium valproate is the treatment of choice, women should be provided with as much information as possible to enable them to make an informed decision," and children whose mums took the drug during pregnancy should be monitored closely, write the authors.

"But on no account should pregnant women just stop taking the drug for fear of harming their developing child," urge the authors.*


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rebecca Louise Bromley, George E Mawer, Maria Briggs, Christopher Cheyne, Jill Clayton-Smith, Marta Garcνa-Fiρana, Rachel Kneen, Sam B Lucas, Rebekah Shallcross, Gus A Baker, On Behalf of the Liverpool and Manchester Neurodevelopment Group. Research paper: The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders in children prenatally exposed to antiepileptic drugs. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 2013 DOI: 10.1136/jnnp-2012-304270

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Exposure to antiepileptic drug in womb linked to autism risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131084651.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, January 31). Exposure to antiepileptic drug in womb linked to autism risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131084651.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Exposure to antiepileptic drug in womb linked to autism risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131084651.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) — The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) — The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) — No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
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