Write to your MP about safer medicines in pregnancy
We are urging you to write to your MP and ask them to support research funding into safer epilepsy medicines for pregnant women. Join our campaign!
What can I do?
Developing safer treatment options for pregnant women with epilepsy is an issue of vital importance – and one that we are eager to push up the political agenda.
One powerful way to do this is by writing to your MP and encouraging them to support our Safe Mum, Safe Baby campaign, which calls for funding for medicines research.
We have a suggested letter format below.
If you are willing to include your own experience with anti-epilepsy drugs in pregnancy you can put this in the paragraph where it says [INSERT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE HERE].
You can find your local Member of Parliament and their contact information here: members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
Do let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org if you hear back from your MP, and we can provide additional support and information.
Dear [MP NAME],
I live at [INSERT ADDRESS] in your constituency and I am emailing to encourage you to support more funding to develop safer epilepsy medication for pregnant women.
A report published by the Commission on Human Medicines in January 2021 highlighted the risks to babies of many of the most commonly prescribed anti-epilepsy drugs when taken by pregnant women. The impact on infants can include both physical and neurodevelopmental harm. We have known for a number of years about the risks associated with the drug sodium valproate, but evidence now suggests that this is a broader issue across numerous anti-epilepsy drugs.
As a woman with epilepsy, I find this very troubling.
I am supporting the Epilepsy Society’s Safe Mum, Safe Baby campaign which aims to tackle this important issue.
This campaign is asking the government to fund research so that babies will not be born with preventable disabilities caused by their mothers' life-saving epilepsy drugs.
The good news is that within the research sector, the UK has the scientific expertise to address this. Funding is key. Research could allow scientists to understand which drugs will be safe for which women and which may pose risks for their babies.
We have the experts, but we need the funding.
[INSERT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE ABOUT EPILEPSY AND PREGNANCY HERE]
e.g. I have had epilepsy for X years and currently take X medication. Please feel free to describe your personal circumstances, if you are comfortable doing so. This may include a previous pregnancy, a current pregnancy or concerns about starting a family in the future.
As my constituency MP, I am asking for you to show your support for this campaign.
You can do this by tabling a Parliamentary Question or writing to the Treasury in support of greater funding for research into anti-epilepsy drugs.
Please do let me know if this is of interest and I can provide you with further information.
What is the Safe Mum, Safe Baby campaign?
What is the Safe Mum, Safe Baby campaign?
For more information about the Safe Mum, Safe Baby campaign, please read the below:
In January, a report was published which highlighted the potential risks to babies of many anti-epilepsy drugs when taken by pregnant women. These drugs include carbamazepine, topiramate, phenytoin and phenobarbital.
For a number of years, the Epilepsy Society has campaigned on behalf of pregnant women who have taken sodium valproate – an anti-epilepsy drug known to have potential health risks when used in pregnancy.
Following the report, Epilepsy Medicines in Pregnancy published by the Commission on Human Medicines, we have widened our campaign to support women and girls who take other anti-epilepsy drugs before and after pregnancy.
Our campaign, Safe Mum, Safe Baby, launched in January with one key objective:
To secure research funding that will help us to understand why certain anti-epilepsy drugs pose harm to unborn babies and which pregnancies may be most vulnerable. This could, in turn, lead to the development of safer, more tailored treatments in the future.
The Epilepsy Society has welcomed the publication of data from a new valproate registry but called for it to be expanded to include all anti-epilepsy drugs.
Following publication of a review highlighting the risks linked to some epilepsy medications during pregnancy, our Medical Director, Professor Ley Sander, has written a letter to support women and girls requesting a review of their medication and an urgent referral to a neurologist if they are planning to become pregnant.