Dispensing valproate for girls and women

Quick reference guide

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a Drug Safety Update on 22 January 2015: Medicines related to valproate: risk of abnormal pregnancy outcomes. Pharmacists are advised to familiarise themselves with the information on the risk of developmental disorders in children born to mothers who take sodium valproate during pregnancy and strengthened warnings relating to the use of valproate (sodium valproate, valproic acid and semi-sodium valproate) medicines. To ensure female patients are aware of these risks, the MHRA have launched a toolkit.

The toolkit includes a credit card sized patient card, a booklet for healthcare professionals, a checklist for prescribers and patients and a patient information booklet. A full list of resources can be found on the MHRA website

The patient information booklet advises patients to speak to their doctor or pharmacist if they have any questions. Patients may come to you for advice on the use of valproate medicines. When dispensing valproate medicines to patients, pharmacists are recommended to check to see whether female patients have had a discussion with their doctor about the new information relating to valproate medicines. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of General Practitioners have published a video for healthcare professionals regarding the risks of valproate for girls and women.

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