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Awareness and documentation of the teratogenic effects of valproate among women of child-bearing potential

  • Deirdre Mulryan (a1), Anna McIntyre (a2), Colm McDonald (a1) (a3), Sabina Feeney (a2) and Brian Hallahan (a1) (a3)...

Abstract

Aims and method

We aimed to evaluate clinical note documentation of valproate prescribing and establish the level of knowledge among women of child-bearing potential regarding valproate-associated adverse effects, including teratogenesis, in a regional Irish mental health service.

Results

Of the 42 women prescribed sodium valproate, 21.4% (n = 9) had some documentation in relation to associated risks and 33.3% (n = 14) described an awareness of these risks from consultation with their treating mental health team. On clinical interview, 9.5% (n = 4) of individuals with clear documentation of the risks of teratogenesis described no such awareness. Augmentation with lithium was associated with greater awareness of the teratogenic risks of valproate (P = 0.011).

Clinical implications

A clear description of the teratogenic risks of valproate and potential management strategies, including advice regarding contraception and supplementation with folic acid, should be clearly documented and provided repeatedly and in context to all women of child-bearing age who are prescribed valproate.

Declaration of interest

None.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dr Brian Hallahan (brian.hallahan@nuigalway.ie)

References

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Awareness and documentation of the teratogenic effects of valproate among women of child-bearing potential

  • Deirdre Mulryan (a1), Anna McIntyre (a2), Colm McDonald (a1) (a3), Sabina Feeney (a2) and Brian Hallahan (a1) (a3)...
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