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Prenatal use of antiepileptic drugs and childhood psychiatric disorders

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Key learning points

  • Use of valproate during pregnancy is known to cause congenital and neurodevelopmental problems in exposed children.

  • A large cohort study examined the risk of developing a range of psychiatric and developmental disorders in children after prenatal exposure to antiepileptic medicines.

  • The findings confirmed the risks of early-onset developmental disorders associated with prenatal exposure to valproate.

A registry-based study has reinforced the need for safety warnings against using valproate during pregnancy because of an increased risk of early-onset developmental disorders in exposed children.1


This prospective cohort study used data on live-born singleton children of mothers with epilepsy from five Nordic countries to examine the association between prenatal use of antiepileptic medication and psychiatric and developmental disorders in exposed offspring.1 Children were followed up from birth until the …

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  • Contributors DTB Team.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.