Sir.–I am always impressed by a well-documented, understated article, such as the one by Feldman et al on the fetal trimethadione syndrome that appeared in the Journal (131:1389, 1977).
They describe a family with a remarkable story: seven consecutive unsuccessful pregnancies (four malformed infants, all of whom died, and three spontaneous abortions) while the mother was taking trimethadione for petit mal epilepsy, followed by two normal babies after the mother stopped taking trimethadione.
This family was previously described, albeit in a rather unlikely place: a review article1 on genetic diagnosis and counseling. (Feldman et al did refer to this article, although they did not specify that it describes the same family).
The purpose of this letter is to supply an historical footnote.
Several years ago, Dr Richard Behrman asked me to write a review on genetic diagnosis in the newborn. I accepted the invitation and in turn asked
HECHT F. Fetal Trimethadione Toxicity: An Historical Footnote. Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(5):557–558. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130050101026
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