Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs

Marissa Kellogg, Kimford J. Meador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Increasing evidence suggests that exposure to certain antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) during critical periods of development may induce transient or long-lasting neurodevelopmental deficits across cognitive, motor and behavioral domains. The developing nervous system may endure prolonged chronic exposure to AEDs during pregnancy (in utero) or during childhood, which can lead to neurodevelopmental defects such as congenital neural tube defects, lower IQ, language deficits, autism and ADHD. To date, valproate is the most widely recognized AED to significantly negatively affect neurodevelopment, and demonstrates greater adverse effects than any other AEDs that have been assessed. Although some AEDs appear to have low risk (i.e., lamotrigine, levetiracetam), other AEDs have been implicated in a variety of studies detailed below, and many AEDs have not been adequately assessed. The purpose of this review article is to summarize our current understanding of the neurodevelopmental effects of AEDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2065-2070
Number of pages6
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • AED
  • AED exposure
  • Anticonvulsant drugs
  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neurodevelopmental effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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