Scandal of Sodium Valproate featured on Primetime last night - nothing in the papers today



Cruimh

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I find it hard to believe that the effects of Sodium Valproate on the unborn foetus, as covered by Prime Time last night has not made its way anywhere near the papers today.
Was covered in the papers before the Prime Time episode

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/irish-woman-tells-eu-hearing-of-epilepsy-drug-s-harmful-effects-1.3234739

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/my-boys-have-been-robbed-of-all-the-joys-of-life-459769.html

and in the UK papers like the Times, Guardian and Telegraph

TV - Sky News and the BBC

Epilepsy drug's safety reviewed over pregnancy risk - BBC News

A disturbing revelation.
 

Reasunach

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They where unable to figure out correct spelling so delayed print.
I know there's a misspelling in the OP (mods can you assist please?). However that is no reason for the lack of follow-up coverage for something that has the potential to be the biggest pharmaceutical disaster in decades. It is a really disturbing revelation for lots of people and hopefully now that it is out in the open those responsible for it can be held to account.
 

petaljam

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I find it hard to believe that the effects of Sodium Valproate on the unborn foetus, as covered by Prime Time last night has not made its way anywhere near the papers today. This issue is incredibly like another Thalidomide scandal in the making and the media seem to largely ignore it? Why?

https://www.rte.ie/player/gb/show/prime-time-30003251/10781763/
It's really not like Thalidomide, which women were given sometimes for very minor ailments, and often without solid evidence that it was actually indicated. There was also no procedure at the time for identifying unwanted side effects, so the problem was only identified as adore the result of the huge increase in what had been a very rare congenital anomaly.

Sodium Valproate is given to women with epilepsy. There are no "safe" drugs for epilepsy, and simply not controlling their epilepsy is just not a reasonable alternative. It would be very dangerous for the woman and for the foetus. The judgment that was made was that it was safer to control the epilepsy, despite knowing that there was some risk to the foetus.

It's a terrible thing for the familes concerned, and I don't want to minimize that, and it's possible that the risk to the foetus was understated, either knowingly or unknowingly, and that women were left (wrongly) reassured that the risk was smaller than it was - but given their underlying health issues, a pregnancy was always going to be a difficult and risky event for these women. It's tragic, but very different to what happened with Thalidomide.
 

Dame_Enda

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As someone with Asperger Syndrome I was interested that in the case on Prime Time, the boy had the condition. As an adopted person I will probably never know whether my natural mother used this drug or not. But I do know that Big Pharma has has successive govts by the short and curlies, both on labelling and genericisation. We are one of the world's largest producers of pharmaceutical exports.
 

petaljam

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Oh I definitely agree that informed consent is crucial. I'm not defending the traditional rather patronizing tendency of much of the medical profession to talk down to people to the extent of deciding for them what risks they would take.

But I can't agree that it's anything like Thalidomide, that's all. If a woman turns up pregnant, a doctor can't really suck in his breath and say "Oh dear, I wouldn't have done that if I were you." They have to treat her as best they can, and it's hard to get the balan right between honesty (when the exact risk wasn't known, because how can you test drugs on pregnant women?) and frightening her needlessly (because the priority seemed to be to keep her epilepsy under control, so she had to take something.

My understanding BTW is that the drugs that were given were the ones believed to be the least likely to cause harm. I haven't actually heard of anything that was safer, have you? And also, at what point did it become clear that other treatments were safer? If it ever has that is.

(I didn't see the programme but have been sort of following it in the media, where, contrary to the OP's claims, it's been big news for at least a year now if not more.)
 

wombat

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RTE did their usual half ar5ed job of covering a complex issue. Putting a notice on a medicine box is beside the point, its between a patient and their doctor to discuss the options and risks of any medication. The drug is prescribed to treat a serious medical condition, are they seriously suggesting that patients stop taking a prescribed medicine because of a warning on the package?
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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It's really not like Thalidomide, which women were given sometimes for very minor ailments, and often without solid evidence that it was actually indicated. There was also no procedure at the time for identifying unwanted side effects, so the problem was only identified as adore the result of the huge increase in what had been a very rare congenital anomaly.

Sodium Valproate is given to women with epilepsy. There are no "safe" drugs for epilepsy, and simply not controlling their epilepsy is just not a reasonable alternative. It would be very dangerous for the woman and for the foetus. The judgment that was made was that it was safer to control the epilepsy, despite knowing that there was some risk to the foetus.

It's a terrible thing for the familes concerned, and I don't want to minimize that, and it's possible that the risk to the foetus was understated, either knowingly or unknowingly, and that women were left (wrongly) reassured that the risk was smaller than it was - but given their underlying health issues, a pregnancy was always going to be a difficult and risky event for these women. It's tragic, but very different to what happened with Thalidomide.



According to a report on BBC News, the tablets are given out in Ireland, sans any detailed warning
 

petaljam

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According to a report on BBC News, the tablets are given out in Ireland, sans any detailed warning
Why doesn't that surprise me? :mad:


(I haven't worked in pharmaceutical research for nearly two decades, and even then it was known that all epilepsy treatments were at least potentially feto-toxic. There have been problems here too, but afaiaa women in France considering pregnancy would have at least been informed of the existence of a risk. The problem is how to evaluate the size of the risk since it's obviously impossible to carry out studies on pregnant women. Though TBH the whole "Don't worry your little head about it" is as common here among doctors as it is in the UK. Worse.)
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Why doesn't that surprise me? :mad:


(I haven't worked in pharmaceutical research for nearly two decades, and even then it was known that all epilepsy treatments were at least potentially feto-toxic. There have been problems here too, but afaiaa women in France considering pregnancy would have at least been informed of the existence of a risk. The problem is how to evaluate the size of the risk since it's obviously impossible to carry out studies on pregnant women. Though TBH the whole "Don't worry your little head about it" is as common here among doctors as it is in the UK. Worse.)

The same report showed clear and unambiguous warnings on the same product distributed in France
 


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