Headache Preventive Depakote Taken During Pregnancy Linked to Lower IQ in Children

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should avoid taking valproate (used in Depakote, Depakene and Depacon), according to researchers who found that the drug can reduce children’s IQs. Depakote is a widely used headache preventive.

“[Researchers] found that the intelligence quotient of 2-year-old children was an average of 12 points lower when expectant moms took valproate compared with three other drugs — Lamictal, carbamazepine or phenytoin.

“In addition, 24% of toddlers born to mothers who took valproate had IQ scores that would put them in the mental retardation range — that is, below 70 points on the standard IQ test, says Kimford Meador, MD, professor of neurology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“That compares unfavorably with 9% to 12% for the other drugs, he says.”

Please don’t stop taking the drug without consulting your doctor. The side effects from stopping it abruptly can be ugly.

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