Epilepsy drug taken in pregnancy safe in preschoolers

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Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 10:47 am | Updated: 10:50 am, Fri Jan 10, 2014.

New research finds that the epilepsy drug levetiracetam appears not to be associated with movement, thinking, and language problems for preschool children born to mothers who took the drug during pregnancy. However, the drug valproate was associated with some difficulties in preschoolers.

The study at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom involved 53 children who were exposed to levetiracetam, 44 children whose mothers took valproate, and 151 children whose mothers did not have epilepsy and did not take any drugs during pregnancy. Researchers found that children who were exposed tolevetiracetam didn’t differ from children not exposed to epilepsy drugs on any scale administered. However, children who were exposed to valproate scored an average of 16 points lower on movement tests, ten points lower on expressive language tests, and six points lower on language comprehension measures than the children who were exposed to levetiracetam.

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