The Division of Drug Information (DDI) is CDER's focal point for public inquiries. We serve the public by providing information on human drug products and drug product regulation by FDA.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising health care professionals and women that the anti-seizure medication valproate sodium and related products, valproic acid and divalproex sodium, are contraindicated and should not be taken by pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches. Based on information from a recent study, there is evidence that these medications can cause decreased IQ scores in children whose mothers took them while pregnant. Stronger warnings about use during pregnancy will be added to the drug labels, and valproate’s pregnancy category for migraine use will be changed from "D" (the potential benefit of the drug in pregnant women may be acceptable despite its potential risks) to "X" (the risk of use in pregnant women clearly outweighs any possible benefit of the drug).
With regard to valproate use in pregnant women with epilepsy or bipolar disorder, valproate products should only be prescribed if other medications are not effective in treating the condition or are otherwise unacceptable. Valproate products will remain in pregnancy category D for treating epilepsy and manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
With regard to women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, valproate should not be taken for any condition unless the drug is essential to the management of the woman's medical condition. All non-pregnant women of childbearing age taking valproate products should use effective birth control.
Valproate products include: valproate sodium (Depacon), divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote CP, and Depakote ER), valproic acid (Depakene and Stavzor), and their generics.
For more information please visit: Valproate