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Health Agencies Update
June 26, 2013

Valproate Pregnancy Risks

JAMA. 2013;309(24):2542. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.7635

Women who are pregnant should not take valproate sodium, valproic acid, or divalproex sodium to prevent migraine headaches, warned the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (http://1.usa.gov/16caQrJ).

The agency's warning is based on data from the Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs study, which suggested that children whose mothers took these valproate-related drugs had IQs at age 6 years that were between 8 and 11 points lower than children exposed to other antiepileptic drugs. In 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the potential IQ-lowering effect of taking valproate during pregnancy when data from the study suggested lower IQs at age 3 years among children exposed to valproate products during pregnancy.