Epilepsy drug warnings are not reaching women, suggests media report

Epilepsy drug warnings are not reaching women, suggests media report

September 22, 2017

The BBC has today published a news story highlighting the findings of a survey which shows that 68% of women taking sodium valproate have not received safety warnings about the dangers of taking it during pregnancy.

The survey was commissioned by the charities Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Action and Young Epilepsy and includes responses from 2,000 women and girls with epilepsy under the age of 50.

The survey explores whether the patient knows about the risks of taking sodium valproate during pregnancy, which healthcare professional they have seen and whether any healthcare professional ever started a discussion with them about taking valproate during pregnancy.

Community pharmacy teams are reminded that earlier this year, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and NHS Improvement published a patient safety alert relating to girls and women who are being treated with valproate.

At the same time, the MHRA also published a valproate toolkit and a guidance document on using the toolkit for those prescribing and dispensing valproate and includes specific action points for pharmacists.

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