Valproate and autism

Valproate, a medication typically used to control epilepsy, is now being linked to autism. A study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” says that when women take valproate during pregnancy, their children are at risk of developing autism or autism spectrum disorders. Researchers say that although the risk is not high, even a moderate increase in risk is an important health issue since autism spectrum disorders can have lifelong implications for affected children and their families. In addition to seizure control, valproate is also prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and prevent migraines. The American Academy of Neurology recommends that women avoid taking valproate while pregnant due to possible cognitive and physical birth defects in children exposed to the drug. If you are a woman of childbearing potential, be sure to consult with your doctor about the risks of valproate exposure before you begin taking this medication. 

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