Risks of epilepsy drug in pregnancy

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

The European Medicines Agency is currently reviewing whether patients were given adequate warnings regarding the drug Sodium Valproate.

This drug is commonly prescribed for epilepsy and is an effective treatment, but it has been found to cause damage to foetuses within the first few days of conception. The risks include a 10 per cent chance of a baby being born with physical abnormalities such as spina bifida, and a 40 per cent chance of a baby suffering delays in their development and learning capabilities.

New guidance issued

This has led to new guidance being issued by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. It was recommended that ‘Sodium Valproate should not be prescribed to female children, female adolescents, women of childbearing potential or pregnant women, unless other treatments are ineffective or not tolerated’.

However, recent research by epilepsy charities has found that one in six women who take the drug are still unaware of the dangers of taking the medication, and the effects it could have on an unborn child.

The law is very clear that patients are entitled to be fully informed of the risks of any form of treatment they receive. We regularly see cases where patients did not receive the information they needed about their treatment, sometimes resulting in serious health problems for them and their families. If you think you have grounds for a drugs or medication claim, do get in touch.

Here to help

Our Medical Negligence team are on hand to talk about your clients’ healthcare issues and answer any questions they may have. To arrange a confidential discussion please call us on 0203 871 9258, or email medneg@attwaters.co.uk.

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