Epilepsy drug hurts babies’ I.Q. scores

Pregnant women on drug had children with lower I.Q. scores, study shows

Children born to women who took a popular epilepsy drug while pregnant had significantly lower I.Q. scores than those whose moms took a different drug, according to a new study. The drug, valproate, which is sold generically and under the brand name Depakote, is the second-most popular antiseizure medication for epilepsy; it’s also often used to treat migraines, pain and psychiatric disorders, the New York Times reports, although earlier studies found that use during pregnancy increased the risk of developmental delays and major malformations. According to the research, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, three-year-olds whose mom took valproate during pregnancy had I.Q. scores nine points lower, on average, than kids whose mothers took a different antiseizure drug, lamotrigine. Their scores were also lower than those of kids who took two other antiseizure drugs. Children’s I.Q. scores were strongly related to those of their mothers, except for kids whose mothers took valproate, the study found.

New York Times

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.