Epilepsy, Pregnancy and Pills Campaign


Epilepsy medications (AEDs) are not only used to treat Epilepsy but also used for a variety of different illness such as
1. Migraine
2. Pain Relief
3. Depression
4. Bipolar Disorder

With regards to treating the illness they can be very good, however fatal whilst taking these medications during pregnancy. These medications when taken during pregnancy can be harmful to the foetus as the medicine passes through the placenta. It is now a known fact that the medicines listed can affect the baby. Not all babies are affected by this and some babies are born healthy. It is dependant on dosage and also the womans metabolism


The medical diagnosis and umbrella name of when theses medications affects the baby is known as FACS (Fetal Anti Convulsant Syndrome)

Fetal Carbamazipine Syndrome – Carbamazipine was liscensed in 1965 and has been on the market for 48 years. It is estimated that around 15000 children are affected each year and estimates since it being on the market 60,000 children have been affected

Fetal Hydantoin Syndrome – Phenytoin was liscensed in 1938 with an approximation of 200 children are affected each year. since it being on the market estimations are predicted that around 8000 children have been affected,
Fetal Valproate Syndrome

Symptoms of FACS are : Sodium Valproate (Epilim) was introduced in 1973 and was predominantly prescribed for Epilepsy, however it is now used for different illnesses. Our campaign estimated along with MHRA (Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency) that an estimated 20,000 persons have been affected by Epilim with 500 babies born per year and is still ongoing. All these medications are still being prescribed on a daily regular basis and also for other things, however as our National Survey shows the knowledge and understanding of these drugs is not being told to the people that matter ….the patient.

Symptoms of FACS

• Premature Birth
• Small fingernail
• Spina Bifida / Cerebral Palsy
• Limb defects
• Joint Laxity
• Characteristical facial features
• Delay in reaching milestones
• Gross and fine motor skills
• Autistic Spectrum Disorders
• Speech and Language Delay
• Attention and memory difficulty
• Vision problems
• Incontinence
• Inguinal Hernia
• Hypospadias
• Bowel Problems


downloadEpilim – Sodium Valproate

Carbamazepine CR - Taj Pharmaceuticals Limited 0 (2)Tegratol – Carbamazipine

image_139_enEpinuitin – Phenytoin


Topiramate Tablet_ Taj Pharmaceuticals Limited 0Topiramate

NICE Guidelines 2012 : http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/TA076fullguidance.pdf

The older antiepileptic drugs have the potential to interact
with numerous drugs. Carbamazepine, phenytoin and
barbiturates induce hepatic enzymes. This means that they
can accelerate the metabolism of drugs that are metabolised
by these enzymes and higher doses will be needed or the
drugs will be less effective. For example, carbamazepine,
phenytoin and barbiturates reduce the effectiveness of oral
contraceptives, necessitating the use of alternative methods,
or special high-dose regimens of oral contraceptives, the
effectiveness of which is less certain. Sodium valproate is a
hepatic enzyme inhibitor and therefore slows the
metabolism of some drugs, but it does not interfere with oral
2.13 The effects of these drugs on the unborn child are also a
matter for concern. All the older antiepileptic drugs have
been associated with malformations (see Section 4.1.15).
Multiple drug therapy is associated with a greater risk,
although this may be related to the severity of the mother’s
epilepsy. The Summary of Product Characteristics for sodium
valproate (Epilim) recommends that women of childbearingpotential should not be started on sodium valproate without
specialist neurological advice, and that for partial seizures
sodium valproate should be used only in women found to be
resistant to other treatments.

Janet who I run the campaign with recently wrote a medical journal that was approved in Midwifery Digest. To read click on the link
Knowledge & Understanding of the dangers of AED’s in pregnancy J Williams


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