Anti-epilepsy medicine may lead to
congenital malformations in the fetus and that the use of anti-epilepsy
medicine during pregnancy affects the development of the brain among
the children, suggested previous studies.
There is still a lack of knowledge in the area about the
general health of children who are exposed to anti-epilepsy medicine in
fetal life. But this new study is generally reassuring for women who
need to take anti-epilepsy medicine during their pregnancy.
‘Children whose mothers have taken anti-epilepsy medicine during pregnancy, do not visit the doctor more often than children who have not been exposed to this medicine in utero.’
Children whose mothers have taken anti-epilepsy medicine during
pregnancy, do not visit the doctor more often than children who have not
been exposed to this medicine in utero. This is the result of a new
study from Aarhus.
Being born to a mother who has taken anti-epilepsy medicine during
pregnancy appears not to harm the child's health. These are the findings
of the first Danish study of the correlation between anti-epilepsy
medicine and the general health of the child which has been carried out
by the Research Unit for General Practice, Aarhus University and Aarhus
The results have just been published in the international scientific journal BMJ Open
The researchers have looked into whether children who have been
exposed to the mother's anti-epilepsy medicine have contact with their
general practitioner (GP) more often than other children - and there are
no significant differences.
No reason til worry
"Our results are generally reassuring for women who need to take
anti-epilepsy medicine during their pregnancy, including women with
epilepsy," says Anne Mette Lund Würtz, who is one of the researchers
behind the project.
The difference in the number of contacts to the general practitioner
between exposed and non-exposed children is only three per cent.
"The small difference we found in the number of contacts is
primarily due to a difference in the number of telephone contacts and
not to actual visits to the GP. At the same time, we cannot rule out
that the difference in the number of contacts is caused by a small group
of children who have more frequent contact with their GP because of
illness," explains Anne Mette Lund Würtz.
Of the 963,010 children born between 1997 and 2012, who were
included in the survey, anti-epilepsy medicine was used in 4,478 of the
pregnancies that were studied.
Anti-epilepsy medicine is also used for the treatment of other
diseases such as migraine and bipolar disorder. The study shows that
there were no differences relating to whether the women who used
anti-epilepsy medicine during pregnancy were diagnosed with epilepsy or
Background for the results
Type of study: The population study was carried out using the Danish registers for the period 1997-2013.
The analyses takes into account differences in the child's gender
and date of birth, as well as the mother's age, family situation,
income, level of education, as well as any mental illness, use of
psychiatric medicine and insulin, and substance abuse.