Epilepsy Ireland Survey Results on Epilim (Sodium Valproate) and Statement of same
From the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020, Epilepsy Ireland ran a survey aimed at measuring the effectiveness of measures introduced in 2018 on the prescribing and dispensing of Sodium Valproate (Epilim). Epilepsy Ireland have now released the findings of our survey and from the outset, Epilepsy Ireland and OACS Ireland are deeply concerned about the issues identified – with many women and girls still not fully aware of the preventative measures introduced and the impacts of sodium valproate in pregnancy.
The concerns identified in Epilepsy Ireland survey can only be addressed by co-ordinated planning and action from a range of stakeholders. These stakeholders include the HSE, HPRA, Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, professional bodies and patient groups including OACS Ireland and Epilepsy Ireland. We and our colleagues in Epilepsy Ireland are calling for the establishment of a stakeholder group to consider all available data on this issue and to develop, implement & monitor new actions to address the identified issues. We will continue to work & campaign on this matter together with our colleagues in Epilepsy Ireland.
Statement from Epilepsy Ireland on Sodium Valproate Survey Findings
A new survey undertaken by Epilepsy Ireland has found that one in six (17%) women who are currently taking the commonly prescribed epilepsy drug sodium valproate (Epilim) are unaware that the drug can, in some cases, cause serious birth defects while one in three (33%) are unaware that when taken in pregnancy, the drug can cause learning and developmental problems in children.
Sodium Valproate has been licenced in Ireland for epilepsy since 1975. Children exposed to sodium valproate in the womb are at a high risk of serious developmental disorders (in up to 30-40% of cases) and congenital malformations (in approximately 10% of cases). TheHSE estimates up to 1,250 children may have been impacted in Ireland between 1975 and 2015.