In the April issue of the journal Lancet, Drs. Meador and colleagues comprising the NEAD Study Group present a follow-up analysis assessing what happens cognitively to the children of women who have epilepsy that take either carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin or valproic acid during pregnancy. Results showed that at age six,
IQ was lower after exposure to valproic acid than to carbamazepine, lamotrigine, or phenytoin.
Children exposed to valproic acid did poorly on verbal and memory abilities compared with those exposed to other seizure drugs and on non-verbal and executive functions compared with lamotrigine but not carbamazepine or phenytoin.
High doses of valproic acid were negatively associated with IQ, verbal ability, non-verbal ability, memory and executive functions but other seizure drugs were not.
Right-handedness was less frequent in children in the study overall and in the lamotrigine and valproic groups.
- Verbal abilities were worse than non-verbal abilities in children in the study overall and the lamotrigine and valproic acid groups.
Mean IQs were higher in children exposed to periconceptional folate than they were in non-exposed children.
by Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Last Reviewed: 5/29/2013