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Neurodevelopment of children exposed in utero to lamotrigine, sodium valproate and carbamazepine


Objective To establish the relative risks of in utero exposure to lamotrigine (LTG), sodium valproate (NaV) and carbamazepine (CBZ) monotherapy for neurodevelopment.

Design Observational cohort study.

Patients and methods The study group consisted of children in Northern Ireland aged 9–60 months born to mothers who had enrolled with the UK Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register. The control group consisted of children identified from the Child Health System database across Northern Ireland. Data were gathered on covariates recognised as influencing child development.

Main outcome measures Neurodevelopment assessed using either the Bayley Scales of Infant Development or the Griffiths Mental Development Scales.

Results 210 children underwent assessment by a single researcher blinded to antiepileptic drug exposure. 23 (39.6%) children exposed in utero to NaV, 10 (20.4%) exposed to CBZ and one (2.9%) exposed to LTG had evidence of mild or significant developmental delay, compared to two (4.5%) children in the control group. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that in utero exposure to NaV (OR 26.1, 95% CI 4.9 to 139; p<0.001) and to CBZ (OR 7.7, 95% CI 1.4 to 43.1; p<0.01) but not to LTG had a significant detrimental effect on neurodevelopment.

Conclusion In utero exposure to LTG did not have the detrimental effect on child development that was seen with NaV and with CBZ.

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