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Sodium valproate continues to be prescribed in hundreds of pregnancies, data show

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1013 (Published 21 April 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:o1013
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The epilepsy drug sodium valproate, which carries a risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy,1 was prescribed to 247 patients in England during their pregnancy from April 2018 to September 2021, figures show.2

However, the number of patients given valproate during pregnancy has declined in the past few years, falling from 86 in the year to September 2019 to 65 the following year and to 46 in the year to September 2021.

The data, published by NHS Digital, showed that 23 patients were started on sodium valproate during their pregnancy in the past three years, meaning that they had not had it prescribed in the previous 12 months. The risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children when sodium valproate is taken during pregnancy is estimated to be 30-40%, in addition …

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