Valproate should be avoided in women with epilepsy who are pregnant, according to new guidelines developed by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society.
Valproate should be avoided in women with epilepsy who are pregnant, according to new guidelines developed by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society.1 This medication has been shown to increase the risk of fetal malformations and decreased cognitive skills in children, whether used by itself or with other medications, according to guideline author Cynthia Harden, MD, director of the Epilepsy Division at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
The following guidelines are also recommended for pregnant women with epilepsy:
According to Harden, most persons with epilepsy have well-controlled seizures, are otherwise healthy, and expect to participate fully in life experiences, including pregnancy. The results of this study also showed that women with epilepsy are not at a substantially increased risk for having a cesarean delivery, late pregnancy bleeding, or premature contractions or premature labor and delivery. Also, if a woman is seizure-free 9 months before she becomes pregnant, it is unlikely that she will have seizures during the pregnancy.
1. Harden CL, Hopp J, Ting TY, et al. Practice parameter update: management issues for women with epilepsy-focus on pregnancy (an evidence-based review): obstetrical complications and change in seizure frequency. Neurology. Accessed at: http://www.neurology.org/cgi/rapidpdf/WNL.0b013e3181a6b2f8v1.pdf. April 28, 2009.