Sodium Valproate Guidelines

New warnings and guidance on prescribing sodium valproate to girls and women with epilepsy have been issued by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency).
Research has shown that sodium valproate can cause serious problems in a developing baby. Of babies whose mothers take sodium valproate during pregnancy, up to 1 in 10 (10%) are at risk of having a birth defect, and up to 4 in 10 children (up to 40%) have problems with development and learning as they grow.

Therefore sodium valproate should not be prescribed to girls or women who are pregnant, or who may become pregnant in the future, unless other anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) do not work to control seizures, or they cause unbearable side effects.

There are various different forms of sodium valproate available, including Epilim, Episenta and Epival. It may also be called ‘valproate’ or ‘valproic acid’.