A 2009 article in Epilepsiai showed clearly that “adverse pregnancy and birth outcome in women with epilepsy is mainly confined to AED-exposed pregnancies.” This article, by G. Veiby et al., reviewed records from “the compulsory Medical Birth Registry of Norway, [and] all 2,861 deliveries by women with epilepsy recorded from 1999-2005 were compared to all 369,267 nonepilepsy deliveries in the same period.”
About two-thirds of women with epilepsy who gave birth during this period used no antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) during pregnancy. Researchers compared the vitality of the remaining 961 children born to mothers who used antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy to the control group of children whose mothers did not have epilepsy. Overall, children whose mothers used antiepileptic drugs “were more often preterm,” “and more often had birth weight <2,500 g” (5.5lbs), “head circumference <2.5 percentile, “low Apgar score.” “Small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants (<10 percentile) occurred more frequently in both AED-exposed (p = 0.05) and unexposed (p = 0.02) epilepsy-pregnancies.”
The epilepsy drug that was most highly associated with major congenital malformations was valproate, the active ingredient in Depacon, Depakene, Depakote, and others. Children born to mothers who used Depacon during pregnancy were found to be twice as likely to be born with major congenital malformations.
Due the the fact that the manufacturer of Depacon, Depakene, and Depakote has failed to warn women of the risks that valproate use poses to their developing child, a number of Depacon, Depakene, and Depakote birth defect lawsuits have been filed around the country.
Though this study does not detail specific birth defects associated with valproate, many other studies do. For more information on the craniofacial birth defects, neurological birth defects, and cardiovascular birth defects associated with sodium valproate (Depacon, Depakene, Depakote), follow the links above.