The treatment of epilepsy in pregnancy: The neurodevelopmental risks associated with exposure to antiepileptic drugs

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    Abstract

    A number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have been confirmed as teratogens due to their association with an increased malformation rate. The majority of research to date does not find an association between prenatal exposure to monotherapy carbamazepine, lamotrigine or phenytoin and neurodevelopmental outcome in comparison to control children and noted higher abilities in comparison to children exposed to valproate; but further work is needed before conclusions can be drawn. Data for levetiracetam was limited to one study, as was the evidence for topiramate. Sodium valproate exposure appeared to carry a dose dependent risk to the developing brain, with evidence of reduced levels of IQ, poorer verbal abilities and increased rate of autistic spectrum disorder both in comparison to control children and children exposed to other AEDs. The severity of the neurodevelopmental deficits associated with prenatal exposure to valproate highlight the critical need to consider neurodevelopmental outcomes as a central aspect of teratological research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)203-10
    JournalReproductive Toxicology
    Volume64
    Early online date14 Jun 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016

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