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Valproate

Tadpole model links epilepsy drug’s effects to chromatin

Valproic acid (VPA), an epilepsy drug that increases the risk of autism, may alter neural circuits by opening up chromatin, a tightly packaged form of DNA in the nucleus. Researchers presented the unpublished data today at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The study looked at the effects of VPA on tadpoles. Tadpoles are useful for studying neural circuits because they are transparent. According to work presented at last year’s Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, tadpoles exposed to VPA do not swim in groups — indicating abnormal social behavior — are highly sensitive to sensory stimuli such as startling sounds and have overly connected and excitable brain circuits. But it’s unclear exactly how VPA exposure leads to these symptoms. VPA has many well-k...

Keppra Taken During Pregnancy Shown To Not Be Linked with Developmental Delays

A new study finds that the epilepsy drug levetiracetam (Brand Name Keppra) appears not to be associated with thinking, movement and language problems for preschool children born to mothers who took the drug during pregnancy, although the drug valproate was associated with some difficulties in preschoolers. The study is published in the January 8, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “These results are heartening, as the use of levetiracetam has increased in recent years, but there has been limited information on its effect on the thinking, movement and language abilities of children. However this is the first study to look at the effects of levetiracetam and further research is needed before we can be certain there are no associa...

New Findings On Women, Pregnancy, Epilepsy Released At Annual Epilepsy Society Meeting

New research pertaining to the latest findings on the effects of epilepsy on both the mother and child were presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington DC. These studies explore folic acid use, the effect of surgery with intractable focal epilepsy, and antiepileptic drug exposure during breastfeeding. Researchers from the Harvard Neuroendocrine Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts investigated the frequency of folic acid supplement use by women with epilepsy in the community and factors that may predict its use. Folic acid deficiency in early pregnancy is known to cause birth defects and increase the risk of miscarriages, which can occur most with enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (AED). Neural tube malformations a...

Important breakthrough in identifying effect of epilepsy treatment

50 years after valproate was first discovered, research published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, reports how the drug works to block seizure progression. Valproate (variously labelled worldwide as Epilim, Depacon, Depakene, Depakote, Orlept, Episenta, Orfiril, and Convulex) is one of the world’s most highly prescribed treatments for epilepsy. It was first discovered to be an effective treatment for epilepsy, by accident, in 1963 by a group of French scientists. In thousands of subsequent experiments, animals have been used to investigate how valproate blocks seizures, without success. Scientists from Royal Holloway University and University College London have now identified how valproate blocks seizures in the brain, by using a simple amoeba. “The discovery of how valproate block...

New Therapies Top Epilepsy Meeting Agenda – Starts Tomorrow

WASHINGTON — A report on long-term outcomes in patients treated with a newly approved electrical therapy for refractory seizures is among the highlights at this year’s American Epilepsy Society annual meeting here. Also on tap: studies of a new form of laser surgery for seizure ablation, a wearable seizure detector, and a device for home monitoring of anti-epileptic drug blood levels, said Kimford Meador, MD, of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., the organization’s scientific program committee chairman. Another study, led by Meador himself, examines whether children of mothers taking the epilepsy drug valproate while breastfeeding suffered adverse consequences at age 6 as a result. (Answer: it was definitely not harmful and may have been beneficial.)

Breakthrough: Identifying Effect of Epilepsy Treatment

50 years after valproate was first discovered, research published today in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, reports how the drug works to block seizure progression. Valproate (variously labelled worldwide as Epilim, Depacon, Depakene, Depakote, Orlept, Episenta, Orfiril, and Convulex) is one of the world’s most highly prescribed treatments for epilepsy. It was first discovered to be an effective treatment for epilepsy, by accident, in 1963 by a group of French scientists. In thousands of subsequent experiments, animals have been used to investigate how valproate blocks seizures, without success. Scientists from Royal Holloway and University College London have now identified how valproate blocks seizures in the brain, by using a simple amoeba. “The discovery of how valproat...

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Epilepsy, AEDs

Antiepileptic medications during pregnancy but not breastfeeding affect children (dailyRx News) Pregnant women with a chronic condition must balance the benefits of medication with the possible risks to their child. This is true especially for women with epilepsy. Medications used to treat epilepsy are known to have some possibly harmful effects on unborn babies. The researchers found that children of women taking anti-epileptic medications during pregnancy had poorer fine motor skills and social skills. However, those medications do not appear to harm babies who are breastfeeding while their mothers take the medications. “Discuss medications during pregnancy with your OB/GYN.” The study, led by Gyri Veiby, MD, of the Department of Clinical Medicine in the Section for Neurology...

Valproate Prescribed Four Times More for Those Who Don’t have Epilepsy

EMORY (US) —Compared to women who have epilepsy, those who don’t are four times more likely to be prescribed an antiepileptic drug that’s known to cause severe birth defects. A recent study shows that prescriptions for the drug valproate have not decreased in recent years, despite awareness of the birth defect and brain damage risk. Led by Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr., research professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, a research team analyzed data from the National Hospital and Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys from 1996 to 2007 to examine valproate prescriptions for adolescent girls and adult women aged 14-45 years. Findings from the study conclude that 83 percent of valproate prescriptions were written for women without epilepsy, with 74 percent of those prescribed for ps...

Pregnant women ‘unaware’ of epilepsy drug risks

Concern is growing that mothers-to-be are not aware enough of the dangers of an epilepsy drug known to cause severe abnormalities in foetuses. Sodium valproate has long been known to increase babies’ risk of cleft palate and spina bifida. Now new research has revealed some babies exposed to the drug also have mental problems and a survey found 25% of mothers were unaware of the risks. The drug’s manufacturers insist they have always warned of the dangers. Sodium valproate is one of the most effective drugs for controlling epileptic seizures. But it presents risks if taken by expectant mothers, with an increased chance of physical deformities. Dr Peter Turnpenny, consultant clinical geneticist at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, said: “We know the risk of physical birth de...

Study Links Epilepsy Drug Valproate during Pregnancy to Lower IQ

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) — Children of mothers who take the antiepileptic drug valproate during pregnancy have lower IQ scores at age 6, a new study says. And the higher the dose of valproate during pregnancy, the greater the effect on a child’s IQ, according to the report published in the Jan. 22 issue of The Lancet Neurology. For the study, the researchers looked at 305 pregnant women in the United States and United Kingdom who took a single drug to treat the seizure disorder — either valproate (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol), lamotrigine (Lamictal) or phenytoin (Dilantin).

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