Worldwide reduction in the number of children exposed to harmful antiepileptic drugs in the womb

Impact: Health and wellbeing, Policy


Research undertaken by Bromley and Clayton-Smith at The University of Manchester has been integral in reducing risks to fetal development from the treatment of epilepsy during pregnancy. We demonstrated that sodium valproate taken in pregnancy can lead to increased rates of physical birth defects and lifelong cognitive, behavioural and social difficulties in the offspring. Our research has contributed to regulatory interventions and policy changes which have seen the prescribing of valproate become severely restricted in women and girls, resulting in tens of thousands fewer children being affected worldwide. Diagnostic guidelines and both genetic and neuropsychological clinical pathways have been developed to improve management for those affected.

Impact dateAug 2013Dec 2020
Category of impactHealth and wellbeing, Policy
Impact levelAdoption