Sodium valproate hearing: Your chance to speak out
On Tuesday 26 September 2017, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is to host a public hearing, in London, on whether epilepsy therapies that contain sodium valproate pose a risk to pregnant women.
It will be the first time the European Union’s drug-regulating agency will make a hearing part of a therapy review process.
Sodium valproate is the third most commonly prescribed antiepileptic medication. A recent survey, co-led by Young Epilepsy in October 2016, showed 1 in 5 (20%) women currently taking the drug do not know it can harm the development and physical health of their unborn child, should they become pregnant.
Carol Long, CEO of Young Epilepsy, said:
Sodium valproate can provide life-changing support for many young people with epilepsy. However, the percentage of women who do not know the risks of taking the drug during pregnancy is far too high. This information must be made clearer. Medical professionals must be given more support to understand, and be proactive, in flagging the risks.
Women must feel more empowered to discuss the issue with their epilepsy specialist, so they can make a more informed decision about their future.
Women and girls of child-bearing potential should only be treated with sodium valproate if nothing else works. It is crucial women and girls do not stop taking their epilepsy medication without talking to a healthcare professional beforehand.