Maternal Epilepsy Does Not Affect Infant Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

Secondary analyses showed exposure-dependent effects present on multiple cognitive measures, which varied by medication.

HealthDay News —  Children with and without fetal exposure to antiseizure medications have no differences in neurodevelopmental outcomes, although secondary analyses show some exposure-dependent antiseizure medication effects, according to a study published in the August issue of The Lancet Neurology.

Kimford J. Meador, M.D., from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and colleagues conducted a prospective, observational multicenter cohort study at 20 epilepsy centers in the United States. Pregnancy outcomes in women aged 14 to 45 years with and without epilepsy and their children were examined. A total of 351 women with epilepsy and 105 without were enrolled in the study; 345 and 106 children were born to these women, respectively.

Researchers found that at age 3 years, Verbal Index scores did not differ for children of women with or without epilepsy. Maternal intelligence quotient, maternal education, postbirth anxiety, gestational age at enrollment, child’s sex, and child’s ethnicity were significant risk factors associated with reduced Verbal Index scores. Antiseizure medication exposure effects were not seen for maximum third-trimester blood concentration for Verbal Index scores; however, exposure-dependent effects were present on multiple cognitive measures in secondary analyses, with variation by medication.

“Cognitive outcomes in children aged 3 years did not differ if their mother had epilepsy or did not have epilepsy,” the authors write. “Signals of fetal exposure-dependent effects were seen for multiple measures.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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