What would you like to know?
Share this Story

Epilepsy drug, autism linked

Kristen Fischer is a writer living at the Jersey Shore. In addition to writing for SheKnows, she has penned articles for Prevention, Health, Woman's Day, BELLA, and New Jersey Monthly. Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, friend...

Valproate linked to autism

A new study links the use of an epilepsy drug during pregnancy to a higher risk of autism and related disorders.

autism

Women taking valproate (Depacon, Depakote) while they are pregnant may increase the risk of childhood autism and spectrum disorders in their children, according to a new study.

Scientists linked in-utero exposure to the drug with a five-fold elevated risk of autism and three-fold elevated risk for autism spectrum disorder, according to Jakob Christensen, Ph.D., of Denmark's Aarhus University Hospital. The report is published in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The absolute risk of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder was 4.4 percent in children exposed to valproate compared to 1.5 percent in children not exposed to valproate. The absolute risk of being diagnosed with childhood autism was 2.5 percent in children exposed to valproate compared to 0.5 percent in children not exposed to valproate,” Christensen said.

The American Academy of Neurology advises against taking the drug during pregnancy whenever possible because it is known to cause birth defects.

“Because approximately half of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, delaying discussions of treatment risks until a pregnancy is considered will leave a substantial number of children at unnecessary risk,” warned Kimford Meador, M.D., and David Loring, Ph.D., from Emory University in Atlanta.

“Women of childbearing potential should be informed of the potential risks of fetal valproate exposure before valproate is prescribed,” they said in an editorial based on the report.

Related topics

Study: Vaccines not linked to autism

5 Celebs who are passionate about autism

The truth about love… and autism

Tagged in
Recommended for You
Comments
Hot
New in Health & Wellness
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!