Here at INFACT/FACSA, we have found out this last week that women of childbearing age and who taking AEDs for epilepsy, migraine, depression, pain relief, bipolar etc are now not going to be given councilling from their GP, with regards to Epilim, Lamotrigine, Carbamazipine, Tegretol, Phenytoin to name a few.
In 2004, NICE Guidelines were introduced and stated that:
18.104.22.168 In order to enable informed decisions and choice, and to reduce
misunderstandings, women and girls with epilepsy and their partners, as
appropriate, must be given accurate information and counselling about
contraception, conception, pregnancy, caring for children and breastfeeding,
and menopause. 
However due to our pressure from INFACT with our National Campaign, the Department of Health have now decided that women of childbearing age, and on these medicines for their diagnosed illness, should NOT BE TOLD that their foetus will be born with debilitating disabilities. The catastrophic thing about this whole topic is that the Department ofHealth ARE AWARE of the effects of these medicines due to a journal paper published in January, clearly clarifying that these medications DO CAUSE HARM TO THE BABY.
INFACT have documentation that clearly recognises that the British Medical Association (BMA) and General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC) were against the new changes that have now been implemented. Even though a GP can give you information he is unable to give you the specialist advice that you would get in pre conception councilling. The 2 major charities for Epilepsy who we are working with Epilepsy Action and Epilepsy Society have had no contact from Department of Health, after it took 6 years to campaign to have Pre Conception Councilling implemented in NICE Guidelines.
We believe it’s disgusting after the amount of campaigning which has been done this year to raise awareness and the knowledge that the MHRA in August agreed figures with INFACT that 20,000 had been affected by just Valproate alone since 1973, that the Government withdraw such an important guideline in an attempt to save money and dampen down our campaign and the issues it has raised.
We know that each year the figures for babies affected by Valproate are around 500, bearing in mind there are another 9 AED’s doing exactly the same thing. If pre-conception counselling has been ‘retired’ how do women needing advice and guidance find such specialised information..… we know from experience that GP’s are not equipped to do it.
If the Department of Health think this topic “The New Thalidomide” will just go away, they have another thing coming. Epilim in particular is a good drug to control seizures however is the worst for affecting babies in pregnancy. Due to the amount of ladies being diagnosed with Depression alone, this figure of affected babies will rise and continue to cost the taxpayer money and allow drug company Sanofi to make profit from this.
If any ladies out there disagree like us with these changes, please get in touch with your MP asking him to write to our Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt asking why has he made these changes after 9 years of it being categorically stated that women do NEED councilling. Any parent wanting any more information about this do get in touch via our National Helpline 01253 799161