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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Another Risk Factor: Prenatal Exposure to Certain Antiseizure Meds

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss various ideas about what causes the condition

Marte-Helene Bjørk and colleagues have an article at JAMA Neurology titled "Association of Prenatal Exposure to Antiseizure Medication With Risk of Autism and Intellectual Disability."

Is there an association between prenatal exposure to antiseizure medications and neurodevelopmental disorders?

Findings In this cohort study including 25 000 children prenatally exposed to antiseizure medications, of which 16 000 were born to mothers with epilepsy, topiramate and valproate in monotherapy were associated with a 2- to 4-fold increased risk of autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability. Prenatal exposure to duotherapy with levetiracetam with carbamazepine and lamotrigine with topiramate, but not levetiracetam with lamotrigine, were also associated with child neurodevelopmental disorders within the same range as for valproate exposure.

Meaning In this study, prenatal exposure to valproate, topiramate, and several duotherapies were associated with increased risk of child neurodevelopmental disorders.

Exposure to these meds just joins a growing list of correlatesrisk factors, and possible causes that have been the subject of serious studies:

  • Acetaminophen;
  • Pesticides;
  • Air pollution and proximity to freeways;
  • Maternal thyroid issues;
  • Autoimmune disorders;
  • Induced labor;
  • Preterm birth;
  • Fever;  
  • Birth by cesarean section;
  • Anesthesia during cesarean sections;
  • Maternal and paternal obesity;
  • Maternal diabetes;
  • Maternal and paternal age;
  • Grandparental age;
  • Maternal post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Maternal anorexia;
  • Smoking during pregnancy;
  • Cannabis use during pregnancy;
  • Antidepressant use during pregnancy;
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • Infant opioid withdrawal;
  • Zinc deficiency;
  • Sulfate deficiency;
  • Processed foods;
  • Maternal occupational exposure to solvents;
  • Congenital heart disease;
  • Insufficient placental allopregnanolone.
  • Estrogen in the womb;
  • Morning sickness;
  • Paternal family history;
  • Parental preterm birth.