Valproate exposure in utero increases risk of autism

Researchers reviewed national birth registers in Denmark covering >655,000 children born over a decade, including 508 exposed to valproate.

They found the absolute risk was 2.5% for autism and 4.42% for ASD among children exposed in utero to valproate compared to 1.02% and 2.44% respectively for unexposed children.

The risk remained when controlled for parental epilepsy and psychiatric problems. Researchers said the risk had to be weighed against the need for mothers to maintain epilepsy control.