VALPROATE SODIUM  This is an anti-epileptic drug which is normally prescribed as a prophylactic medication.  It has been found to cause neural tube defects in children born to women who took this drug during pregnancy. The affected children suffer from what is known as "foetal anticonvulsant syndrome", or FACS, which causes a range of neural, behavioral and physical disorders. These disorders include; cleft palate and spinal bifida, learning difficulties, behavioral problems and abnormalities in movement, speech, vision and hearing.  In Nigeria, Epilim and Epivan, brands of sodium valproate are registered for use as anti-epileptic drugs. NAFDAC strongly advise that women within the reproductive (child bearing) age SHOULD NOT use this drug.  However, antiepileptic drugs, including valproate, could be administered to women of childbearing potential only if they are clearly shown to be essential in the management of their medical condition.



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