Sodium valproate and pregnancy

June 21, 2016

You may have seen recent media coverage about the risks posed to an unborn baby from taking some anti-epileptic drugs during pregnancy, particularly sodium valproate: BBC news article 20 June 2016.

Medicines for Children have produced advice on this topic already: please see our information leaflet on sodium valproate. The current advice from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) reinforces our guidance provided on the Medicines for Children leaflet –

  • Sodium valproate may harm an unborn baby.
  • If your daughter has sex, it is essential that she uses contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
  • If your daughter is worried that she may be pregnant, it is important that she sees her doctor as soon as possible.
  • Your daughter should keep taking her anti-epilepsy medication until she sees her doctor.
  • The oral contraceptive pill can be used safely in women or girls who are taking sodium valproate.

Do not suddenly stop giving any anti-epilepsy medication to your child, as they may have a seizure. If you are worried, talk to your doctor but carry on giving the medicine to your child as usual.