Fetal Anticonvulsant Syndrome

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Fetal antiepileptic drug syndrome (fetal AED syndrome); Fetal carbamazepine syndrome; Fetal phenytoin syndrome; Fetal valproate syndrome (FVS)

Short Description or Definition

“Fetal anticonvulsant syndrome” or “FACS” is the term used to describe the adverse effects of in utero exposure to anticonvulsant medication (e.g., phenobarbitone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, valproate, lamotrigine, etc.) and may manifest as dysmorphic facial features, major and minor structural anomalies, learning difficulties, and/or behavioral problems. Specific health and developmental problems are noted following exposure to specific antiepileptic drugs, e.g., phenytoin, valproate; the terms fetal phenytoin syndrome and fetal valproate syndrome are then used.


Epilepsy is a common neurological condition affecting 0.6–1% of the population, and about a third of these are women of reproductive age. The majority of these women will be treated with a ...