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Epilepsy: Pregnancy

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 161844, tabled on 2 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional steps have been taken to ensure that medical professionals are equipped to provide awareness of the risk of physical and neurodevelopmental harm to a baby associated with the use of many anti-epileptic drugs taken in pregnancy, specifically when providing such information via digital consultations and telemedicine.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

11 March 2021

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) ensures that information is available electronically to support discussions between medical professionals and women and girls on the risk of physical and neurodevelopmental harm to babies born to mothers who take epilepsy medicines during pregnancy. Healthcare professionals have been reminded of their responsibility to inform women and girls of the risks of valproate specifically through letters from the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officers and Chief Pharmaceutical Officers and by articles in the MHRA’s electronic bulletin Drug Safety Update.

On 6 May 2020 the MHRA published guidance for specialists to support adherence to the pregnancy prevention requirements for women of childbearing potential taking valproate during the pandemic, particularly patients who are shielding due to other health conditions. This included guidance on annual review of patients using digital consultations.

Named day
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