What is the lifetime cost of harms caused by epilepsy medications during pregnancy?
The report Individual, Health System, and Societal Impacts of Anti-seizure Medicine Use During Pregnancy was written by the Office of Health Economics and commissioned by the Epilepsy Society.
While risks around sodium valproate are well known, other commonly prescribed epilepsy medications also elevate risk of harm for unborn babies, and for many medications there is not enough data to analyse the risks. We believe research could help to make the prescribing of epilepsy medications safer in pregnancy, but only with the correct funding.
We believe that funding for research should be made available on the basis alone of supporting women with epilepsy. But we know that to persuade public authorities to release funds, we should also demonstrate the economic argument for investment.
This report shows that preventable harms caused by epilepsy medications over a lifetime, can range from £2.5m for a baby born with severe autistic spectrum disorder, to £50k for a child with dyslexia.
Our campaign is to ensure people with epilepsy are able to plan for a family knowing that their medication is the safest possible for both them and their babies.
We are asking government and industry for £20m to make the prescription of epilepsy medications during pregnancy safer. If eight babies were saved from a lifetime of severe harm, the cost of funding to the Government would have become a saving.
You can read the full report here:
You can also read background and key takeaways from the report
Nicola Swanborough, Head of External Affairs
Nathan Draper, Policy and Public Affairs Manager