Sodium Valproate

16th November 2017

During my time as a Health Minister, I led the setting up of the Ministerial Task Force which looked into the impact of sodium valproate taken during pregnancies, and I have since continued to follow progress in this area very closely.

The scientific advice is that, while sodium valproate remains a very effective medication for epilepsy and bipolar disorder, it should only be prescribed to women during pregnancy in exceptional circumstances – i.e. where all other treatments have been proven to be ineffective. Generally, all women and girls of childbearing age should avoid it.

I shall be meeting with local campaigners in the coming weeks to discuss this issue in even further depth, and I remain firmly committed to working with my fellow Norfolk MPs and colleagues in Government to ensure that women get the right advice – and that all of those taking sodium valproate in future are fully aware of the risks posed during pregnancy. I will also continue to ask that those who have suffered as a result of mistreatment or inadequate historic advice are properly supported.

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