Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 423–427 | Cite as

Antiepileptic Drugs and Neurodevelopment: An Update

  • Susan PalacEmail author
  • Kimford J. Meador


In utero exposure to some antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) is associated with an increased risk of impaired cognitive development. Specifically, valproate and polytherapy exposure are each associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment in children compared with other antiepileptic medications. The data regarding the risk to neurocognitive development imposed by maternal use of other AEDs are conflicting or insufficient at this time to draw definitive conclusions. Behavioral dysfunction including autistic spectrum disorder is also associated with maternal use of AEDs during pregnancy. Whether treatment with AEDs during childhood permanently affects cognitive neurodevelopment is yet to be determined.


Antiepileptic drugs Cognition Neurodevelopment Epilepsy Pregnancy 



K.J. Meador has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH); has been a consultant on grants for NIH; has been a Primary Investigator for a grant from NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; has been a Co-investigator on a grant from NIH/National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities; and has been a Co-investigator on a grant from NIH.


Conflicts of interest: S. Palac: none; K.J. Meador: has been a Co-investigator on a grant from Epilepsy Foundation of America; has been a Primary Investigator for a grant from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals; has been a Primary Investigator and Co-investigator for grants from UCB Pharma; has been a Co-investigator on grants from Neuropace, Inc.; has been a Primary Investigator for a grant from GlaxoSmithKline; has been a Primary Investigator for a grant from Schwartz Biosciences (UCB Pharma); has been a Co-investigator on a grant from Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; has been a Co-investigator on a grant from Myriad Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; has traveled to speak for Sanofi Aventis; is on the editorial board for the journal Epilepsy Currents; and is a member of the professional advisory board for the Epilepsy Foundation of America.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Woodruff Memorial Research BuildingEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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