Epilim and Pregnancy

Epilim and Pregnancy

A study carried out at the University of Liverpool has found that children born to mothers who took sodium valproate (Epilim) were six times more likely to have neurodevelopmental problems including autism and ADHD. They found that the risk was even higher in children exposed to Epilim as well as another epilepsy drugs (when the mother is taking several medicines). These children were 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with one of the above conditions. 

It is important to note that this was a small-scale study and further research is needed.  This sort of research may point to a problem but it is not conclusive and might be contradicted by larger scale studies.

  • Not every child born to a mother who has taken Epilim will be affected.   The majority of women with epilepsy who have taken Epilim during pregnancy have had healthy children.

  • Epilim may be the only medication that effectively controls seizures for some women and to suddenly stop taking it could lead to a recurrence of seizures. Women who are pregnant and taking Epilim should not stop taking their medicine without seeking advice from their doctors.

  • Women who are of child-bearing age are advised to use a reliable form of contraception whilst taking Epilim.  If you are thinking about starting a family and are currently taking Epilim you should ask your doctor or epilepsy nurse for advice.

  • If you are concerned about the development of your child (for example, you are worried about their speech, communication or social skills) you should speak with your GP. If your child is not achieving expected milestones, early interventions such as speech and language therapy could help.

Dr Chris Kingswood