GPs asked to use new valproate pregnancy risk communication materials

Healthcare professionals are being sent printed communication materials to use when discussing the risks of pregnancy with women and girls taking valproate.

The new valproate risk communication materials include a booklet for healthcare professionals.
The new valproate risk communication materials include a booklet for healthcare professionals.

Use of valproate (eg, Epilim, Episenta) and valproic acid (Convulex, Depakote) was recently restricted, after a Europe-wide review found that children exposed to the drugs in utero are at high risk of serious developmental disorders including autism and congenital malformations.

Further information
View valproate/valproic acid drug records
MHRA Drug Safety Update
MIMS Women's Health Clinic

Materials are now available to help healthcare professionals communicate these risks to girls and women of childbearing potential. The resources comprise:

GPs are reminded that valproate treatment must be started and supervised by a specialist experienced in managing epilepsy or bipolar disorder.

For women of childbearing potential and girls who are currently taking valproate, consider whether to arrange a treatment review with their specialist. If the woman tells you she is pregnant or would like to have a baby, she should be referred to her specialist.

GPs are reminded to continue reporting any suspected side-effects of valproate on a Yellow Card.

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