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15 April 2016

Epilepsy charities launch new sodium valproate survey for women of childbearing age

Three of the UK's leading epilepsy charities have launched a survey to find out how aware women are of the potential dangers around the epilepsy drug sodium valproate, if taken during pregnancy.

The survey has been developed by Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Action and Young Epilepsy and is aimed at women with epilepsy between the ages of 16 and 50.

The 10-minute questionnaire hopes to find out the level of awareness about the potential harm to the physical health and development of children of women taking sodium valproate during pregnancy.

Up to 10 per cent (1 in 10) of babies exposed to sodium valproate in the womb are at risk of being born with a birth defect while up to 40 per cent (4 in 10) exposed to the drug are at risk of problems with learning and development as they grow.

The survey also seeks to discover the extent to which healthcare professionals have been discussing the potential harm caused by sodium valproate with their patients.

The survey was developed using input from the MHRA, the UK regulator for all medicines and medical devices, and will seek to discover the impact of the organisation’s Valproate Toolkit, which was launched in February this year.  The toolkit was created to make sure all women are aware of the dangers of sodium valproate and, with their healthcare professional, can make informed decisions around their treatment before, during and after pregnancy.

The toolkit includes a credit-card-sized patient card to be issued by pharmacists and booklets for healthcare professionals and patients, with a checklist of key questions and discussion points to be kept with the patient's notes.

It is expected that the results of the survey will inform government policy around the provision of epilepsy services and information.


Complete the survey here


Read more about sodium valproate


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