Anti-epilepsy drug intake during pregnancy linked to lower IQ in kidsJuly 22nd, 2009 - 1:28 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, July 22 (ANI): A new study found that kids born to women who took the anti-epilepsy drug sodium valproate while pregnant tended to score significantly lower in IQ tests by an average of 6 to 9 points at age 3 than children born to mothers who took other anti-epilepsy drugs.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with researchers at Emory University in the US and the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, tested more than 300 three-year-olds in the UK and US, whose mothers took one of four anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs) whilst pregnant.
The preliminary findings of the study suggest that kids exposed to the drug sodium valproate had lower IQ results than children exposed to other AEDs, regardless of the mother’s IQ.
The results also took dosage, duration of pregnancy and mother’s consumption of folic acid whilst pregnant, into account.
“Our research looked at how exposure to sodium valproate and other AEDs in the womb affected children’s everyday life - in particular their IQ, memory and language abilities from one to six years of age,” Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University, Gus Baker, said.
Previous research conducted by the team has already shown that children exposed to AEDs such as sodium valproate in the womb are more likely to suffer birth defects characterised by heart malformations, dysmorphic features and minor limb deformities.
“The answer is not as simple as to take women off AEDs altogether as the effects of suffering a seizure can also pose a risk for both mother and unborn child. It is vital that the research is now used to educate women with epilepsy before they start to plan for a family,” Baker said.
“Women need to be aware of the risks so that they can make informed choices with the help and advice of experts. It is also important that women do not stop taking AED treatment without taking advice from their medical practitioner.
“It is important to stress that sodium valproate is used globally and it has a favourable safety profile for all adult patients who use it. It has a range of pharmaceutical uses including bipolar disorder, migraine, epilepsy, and in adults sodium valproate is extremely effective,” Baker added. (ANI)
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Tags: birth defects, central manchester, clinical neuropsychology, duration of pregnancy, emory university, epilepsy, foundation trust, gus baker, iq tests, language abilities, limb deformities, manchester university, medical practitioner, previous research, sodium valproate, three year olds, unborn child, university hospitals, university of liverpool, womb