International Edu News: School children benefit from preventive malaria treatment  |  International Edu News: Oxford University creates its 200th spinout company PhishAR  |  Education Information: Harvard Innovation Labs announces alumni-led ventures  |  Leadership Instincts: Andrew Gordon receives national prize in Japanese studies  |  Education Information: MIT and Accenture announce a five-year collaboration  |  Policy Indications: MSDE and NCVET unveil the new guidelines and operation manuals  |  Art & Literature: NRITYANJALI – an ode to Indian Classical Dance  |  Education Information: AIM Launches India–Australia Circular Economy Hackathon(I-ACE)  |  Technology Inceptions: New age sustainable disinfectants may bring relief from chemical ones   |  National Edu News: Newly identified tectonically active zone could alter earthquake predictions  |  National Edu News: Education minister inaugurates new facilities of NIT Arunachal Pradesh  |  National Edu News: Sustainable Processing of Municipal Solid Waste: ‘Waste to Wealth’  |  Policy Indications: IIT & TCS set new trends in India’s advanced manufacturing sector  |  National Edu News: Foundation stone laid for the main Campus of IIT Palakkad  |  Science Innovations: Scientists uncover mystery behind decline of star formation rate  |  
September 24, 2020 Thursday 04:59:49 PM IST

Study highlights failure to recognise risks of epilepsy drug in pregnancy

Parent Interventions

Doctors are often failing to inform patients about the risk of birth defects to their unborn babies of a commonly used drug to treat epilepsy, according to a literature review by a University of Manchester researcher. The study by Wejdan Shroukh also reveals that both clinical staff and patients can dangerously misjudge the risk of taking a group of drugs – called Teratogenic Medicines – which are associated with birth defects.

Her study examined 55 papers which assessed the prevalence of advice on contraception and pregnancy testing given to women taking teratogenic medicines by doctors in the US and UK. Seven of the papers investigated sodium valproate use in the UK, a treatment for epilepsy, psychiatric disorders, and migraine. Of patients taking the drug, between 17-70% received contraceptive counselling, 25% had pregnancy testing during treatment and 18-33% used contraception during treatment.

Sodium valproate is prescribed to about 24% of women aged 50 or younger. It is associated with a high risk of spina bifida, heart defects and cleft palate as well as malformations of kidneys, urinary tract and cardiovascular system in new-borns. The PhD researcher also reviewed 7 other studies which evaluated if health professionals and patients were able to correctly estimate risk of different Teratogenic Medicines. In the studies, doctors and community pharmacists - among others - usually overestimated the risks associated with a number of teratogenic drugs, including the blood thinners warfarin, sodium valproate and the acne drug isotretinoin.

(Content Courtesy: