Paediatrics: Antiepileptic drug exposure in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental disorder risk

October 22, 2020

Children born to mothers who took the antiepileptic drug sodium valproate during pregnancy may have a four to five-fold increased risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders in early childhood, according to a study in Scientific Reports. Fifty of the 991 French children (5%) who were exposed to sodium valproate were diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders in their first five years, compared to 15,270 of 1,710,441 children (0.89%) not exposed to any antiepileptic drugs.

Rosemary Dray-Spira and colleagues investigated the incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders in young children using anonymized medical records from 1,721,990 children born in France between January 2011 and December 2014.

11,549 of mothers had been treated with one of several common antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy and 15,458 (0.9%) children were identified as having neurodevelopmental disorders by the end of 2016. Overall, children exposed to sodium valproate before birth had a higher risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood than those not exposed to antiepileptic drugs, including a 5.1 times higher likelihood of intellectual disability, a 4.7 times higher likelihood of language, learning and motor disorders and a 4.6 times higher risk of autism spectrum disorders. Increased risk was not observed in children exposed to sodium valproate during the first trimester only and the risk was lower among children exposed to lower doses of the drug, than among those exposed to higher doses.

Children born to mothers treated with the antiepileptic drugs lamotrigine, carbamazepine and pregabalin were 1.6 times, 1.9 times and 1.5 times more at risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders, respectively. No increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders was observed in children born to mothers treated with the antiepileptic drugs clonazepam, gabapentin, levetiracetam or oxcarbazepine.

The findings indicate that exposure to sodium valproate, especially beyond the first trimester of pregnancy, may be associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in early childhood. The risk of neurodevelopmental disorders associated with exposure to other antiepileptic drugs appears to be much lower, according to the authors.
Article details

Risk of early neurodevelopmental disorders associated with in utero exposure to valproate and other antiepileptic drugs: a nationwide cohort study in France



Corresponding Author:

Rosemary Dray-Spira
The French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety, Saint-Denis, France

Please link to the article in online versions of your report (the URL will go live after the embargo ends):

Scientific Reports

Related Pregnancy Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 has a prolonged effect for many during pregnancy
Symptoms for pregnant women with COVID-19 can be prolonged, lasting two months or longer for a quarter of the women who participated in a national study led by UC San Francisco and UCLA.

Relaxed through pregnancy
A group of researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have been able to show that maternal psychological wellbeing during pregnancy has a positive effect on newborn infants.

Trajectories of antidepressant medication use during pregnancy
In an analysis of women who started pregnancy when taking antidepressant medications, investigators identified three trajectories of antidepressant dispensing during pregnancy: more than half stopped their treatment, a quarter maintained their treatment throughout pregnancy, and one-fifth discontinued it for a minimum of three months and then resumed it during the postpartum period.

Are women using e-cigarettes during preconception and/or pregnancy?
A new study of 1,365 racially/ethnically diverse, low-income pregnant women found that 4% reported e-cigarette use.

A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive.

Cannabis use during pregnancy
The large health care system Kaiser Permanente Northern California provides universal screening for prenatal cannabis use in women during pregnancy by self-report and urine toxicology testing.

Questions and answers about cannabis use during pregnancy
A new study shows that women have many medical questions about the use of cannabis both before and during pregnancy, and during the postpartum period while breastfeeding.

The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the first weeks of life can alter sensory processing well into adulthood, according to research in mice recently published in eNeuro.

Is ivermectin safe during pregnancy?
Is it safe to give ivermectin to pregnant women? To answer this question, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that reported cases of accidental exposure to the drug among pregnant women.

Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.

Read More: Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to