News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Campaign highlights anti-epilepsy challenge in pregnancy

Campaign highlights anti-epilepsy challenge for pregnant women

A new awareness campaign is highlighting the importance of women talking to their doctor about the pros and cons of taking anti-epileptic medicine during pregnancy.

Anti-convulsant medicines taken during pregnancy for epilepsy, mood regulation, or pain management can cause congenital malformations and learning problems. However there can be significant health risks for expectant mothers in not taking their medication.

This apparent Catch-22 situation is the focus of a campaign being launched at the Auckland DHB on Thursday(23 November) by ACC, the Ministry of Health, the Health Quality & Safety Commission, and Foetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome New Zealand (FACS NZ).

“We need to drive home the critical message that women who take anti-convulsant medication need to discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor, even if they aren’t actively planning on getting pregnant,” says ACC’s Chief Clinical Adviser Dr Peter Robinson.

“There is a very delicate balance that needs to be struck.

“The harm caused by these medicines happens in the very early stages of pregnancy, often before you are aware you are pregnant, so it is important women know the potential risks and can plan accordingly. But it is equally important that women do not reduce, or stop taking, their medicine without speaking to their medical practitioner first, even if they think they are pregnant.
“The foetal risks can only be reduced by decreasing the dose or changing the medicine, but this must be balanced against the risk to the mother, especially if they have epilepsy as seizures can be life-threatening when not controlled by medication.”

PHARMAC dispensing data indicates that 28,536 women of childbearing age took anti-epileptic medication in 2016.

Dr Robinson said that while all anti-epileptic medicine carried risk, sodium valproate carried the greatest risk with a reported rate of congenital malformations of up to 24 per cent for babies exposed to doses greater than 1500mg per day, compared with two to three per cent in the general population.

Children born to mothers taking doses of sodium valproate greater than 800mg a day in pregnancy have an average decrease in IQ of seven to ten points, and are eight times more likely to require educational intervention when they are six-years-old.

To help with these conversations, two booklets have been created, one for health professionals and one for their female patients www.acc.co.nz/treatmentsafety.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Joseph Cederwall Review: NZSO Plays Zappa

The first of the NZSO’s Shed Series concerts at the more informal and intimate space of Wellington's Shed 6 last Friday night featured music composed by, or with a connection to Frank Zappa. Zappa, a psychedelic rock legend, activist and popular culture figure and all round colourful character, was an excellent choice for the concert’s theme of innovation. More>>

Let The Games Begin: PM Sends Best Wishes To Athletes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent her warm wishes to the New Zealand athletes preparing for the opening of the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast... More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review of Books: Martin Edmonds' The Expatriates

This book is an extension of, and tribute to, the life’s work of James McNeish. Without sacrificing any degree of authorial independence, the result is gracefully written, handsomely produced, and likely to propagate many further works of its kind. More>>

Max Rashbrooke Review: The King's Singers and Voices New Zealand

To be good at one thing is impressive; to be so versatile across a range of genres is truly exceptional. More>>

Joe Cederwall Review: WOMAD 2018 - Harmony of Difference (part 1)

A friend described WOMAD as his “favourite white middle class celebration of diversity.” There is certainly an echo of truth to this as the crowd is still largely white and middle class, but this WOMAD for me represented that a better world is possible ... More>>

Harmony of Difference (part 2)

Top international world music artists seldom make it down to this neck of the woods, so for those of us into this sort of thing WOMAD is certainly a welcome addition to the cultural calendar. Now it is a case of waiting and looking forward to seeing what they manage to conjure up for next year. More>>

Howard Davis Review: A Bigger Splash - Te Papa Celebrates Twenty Years

Considering the available resources, this is a decidedly hit-and-miss affair, mainly due to some highly questionable curatorial decisions. In their overweening wish to "push boundaries," Charlotte Davy and Megan Tamati-Quennell have made a number of serious miscalculations by ignoring a basic rule - keep it simple. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland