Neurodevelopmental disorders and maternal anti-seizure medication use during pregnancy


Maternal use of valproic acid during pregnancy is associated with an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in exposed offspring.

Why this matters

  • There are concerns regarding anti-seizure medication (ASM) use in pregnant women as some studies report an increased risk of associated adverse effects including ADHD and ASD occurrence in exposed offspring; however, findings have been inconsistent.
  • Associations between specific ASMs and neurodevelopmental disorder occurrence may impact both future treatment strategies for pregnant women with epilepsy, and the development of novel ASM for use in this cohort.

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