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The last two decades have witnessed a growing concern over the treatment of epilepsy in women of childbearing age, with an increased risk of major congenital malformations and possible cognitive difficulties associated with certain antiepileptic drugs. The aim here is to review the literature regarding the possible cognitive and behavioural impact of exposure to antiepileptic drugs in utero.Recent evidence from large prospective cohorts indicates that there is a longer term risk to the cognitive and behavioural development of the child exposed in utero to sodium valproate. Information on other antiepileptic agents is conflicting or nonexistent and more research in this area is urgently required.Despite the methodological shortfalls of some of the research in this area, there is an accumulation of evidence highlighting an increased risk for cognitive and behavioural difficulties in children exposed to sodium valproate in utero. Although less certain, there may also be risks associated with phenobarbital and phenytoin exposure. Information regarding these risks should be communicated to the potential mother who has epilepsy.
View details for DOI 10.1097/WCO.0b013e3283292401
View details for Web of Science ID 000265172000008
View details for PubMedID 19532040