22-09-2017 | UK survey finds information on sodium valproate in pregnancy still not reaching women with epilepsy

The BBC are today reporting that almost 70% of women surveyed about the epilepsy drug sodium valproate (Epilim) have not received new safety warnings about the dangers of taking it during pregnancy.

Sodium valproate is known to cause foetal abnormalities in 10% of children exposed to it in the womb and causes developmental delays in up to 40% of children.

The survey of 2,000 women and girls with epilepsy under 50 was commissioned by three charities - Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Action and Young Epilepsy.

Of the 475 currently taking the drug, 68% said they had not received the patient booklet published last year and 21% cent said they had not had a discussion initiated by a healthcare professional.

A similar booklet has been launched in Ireland and that does also not appear to be in widespread use. Earlier this year, Epilepsy Ireland's latest survey of women taking valproate found that just 56% of them had had discussions about valproate risks with their medical team in the past three years.

These materials were created after the European Medicines Agency issued new guidelines and restrictions in 2014.

Next week, the European Medicines Agency will hold a Public Hearing on Valproate in London. Epilepsy Ireland and the FACS Forum Ireland will be attending the Hearing. Karen Keely, who has three adult sons with FACS (Foetal Anti Convulsant Syndrome) will be speaking.