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Recent Advances on Neural Tube Defects with Special Reference to Valproic Acid

[ Vol. 6 , Issue. 1 ]


Alberto Verrotti, Marianna Tana, Piernicola Pelliccia, Francesco Chiarelli and Giuseppe Latini   Pages 25 - 31 ( 7 )


Epilepsy is a common medical problem and many studies have demostrated that infants of women with epilepsy (WWE) have a two to threefold higher risk of congenital malformations compared with the background population. The majority of WWE have normal, healthy children. However, WWE have an increased risk of congenital malformations. Congenital malformations are twice as common in infants exposed to antiepilectic drugs in utero. A variety of congenital malformations have been reported, with a particular preponderance of orofacial clefts. Valproate is often associated with the development of neural tube defects. In this review, we analyse the problem of neural tube defects and report in detail the main pathogenetic theories about the onset of this type of congenital malformation. There is strong evidence for a protective effect of adequate folate consumption.


Epilepsy, pregnancy, neural tube defects, valproate


Division of Neonatology,Perrino Hospital, s.s.7 per Mesagne 72100 Brindisi; Clinical PhysiologyInstitute, National Research Council of Italy [IFC-CNR], Lecce Section,Italy.

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