16-10-2015 | New survey on the use of valproate in women and girls

16 October 2015
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'16-10-2015 | New survey on the use of valproate in women and girls' image

In late 2014, The European Medicines Agency imposed tighter restrictions on the use of the anti-epileptic drug (AED) valproate in female children, adolescents, women of childbearing potential or pregnant women.

The restrictions were introduced because a number of studies found developmental problems in young children exposed to valproate in the womb. Previous studies had linked valproate to increased risk of autism, ADHD and malformations such as cleft palate at birth.

Since then, the manufacturers of the drug Epilim, Sanofi have written to Irish healthcare professionals to advise them on the new restrictions and have issued patient information materials to assist medical professionals in discussing the issues with their patients.

In April of this year, before the patient information was distributed by Sanofi, Epilepsy Ireland conducted an online survey of people with epilepsy taking Valproate to determine the level of awareness of the new restrictions and to find out if discussions were taking place between patients and their medical team on the issues involved. The survey found that the majority of patients were not aware of the issues and that discussions were not commonplace.

Epilepsy Ireland believes that all patients who could potentially be affected by these serious side-effects of valproate should be informed of the risks by their medical team and that informed decisions should be taken on their future epilepsy treatment.

We are now (October 2015) conducting this survey again to determine if the new materials have led to greater discussion between patients and their medical team and to find out if additional measures are needed.

To take this survey, you MUST be either:
(a) female and currently prescribed the drug valproate (epilim) in Ireland
(b) The parent of a female child currently prescribed the drug valproate (epilim) in Ireland

If you took the survey earlier this year, YOU CAN STILL TAKE IT AGAIN NOW.

The survey will take approx 5-10 minutes to complete.

SURVEY LINK: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Valproate-Oct2015

Closing date: Friday, November 6th.

You can find out more about the valproate restrictions here

If you have any concerns, please get in touch with our Specialist Nurse Helpline (01 4554133) or with your local Epilepsy Ireland office.

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