Anti-Seizure Drug Lowered IQ in The Unborn
Researchers report that children of women who took a drug for epilepsy have lower IQs as toddlers than children of mothers who took an alternate drug.
The medication in question is an anti-seizure drug, valproate and it’s sold by Sanofi-Aventis as Epilim and Depakote by Abbott Labs, reports Reuters.
"This finding supports a recommendation that valproate not be used as a first-choice drug in women of childbearing potential," Kimford Meador of Emory University in Atlanta and colleagues wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.
That would apply to all women of childbearing age, since half of pregnancies are unplanned.
The average IQ for children exposed in the womb to lamotrigine was 101, for phenytoin it was 99, and for carbamazepine it was 98. Three-year-old children, exposed to valproate in the womb, who were tested scored an average of 92 on the IQ test, reports Forbes.
The IQ was measured on average six to nine points lower in children whose mothers had been prescribed valproate. Other drugs tested for their effect on children were Lamictal, Tegretol and Dilantin which did not seem to lower the unborn child’s intelligence.
About 25,000 children are born in the U.S. every year to mothers with epilepsy.
Besides a reduced IQ, evidence exists that the drug can cause congenital malformations in 10 percent of children. British researchers also report its link to a rise in autism.
The drug is commonly prescribed for epilepsy, migraines, and bipolar disorder. A lower dose may not show the same effects.
Doctors do not recommend you stop taking the drug suddenly when pregnant because of the possibility that could lead to more seizures which can harm a fetus. Reuters reports that in five percent of epilepsy patients, valproate or valproic acid is the drug of choice.
Researchers plan to follow the children for another three years. #