To protect public health, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has changed the licence for valproate medicines (Epilim, Depakote and generic brands etc). Valproate must no longer be prescribed to women or girls of childbearing potential unless they are on the pregnancy prevention programme (PPP).
Previous policy has allowed the prescribing of valproate medicines where the patient has received appropriate counselling regarding the risks. Following the changes to the license there is now a regulatory requirement for the prescribing of a contraceptive to women of childbearing potential.
A pathway within the Trust has now been created to ensure women of child bearing potential prescribed valproate are reviewed annually. The specialist must invite the woman for a review at least every year to discuss if valproate is still the right treatment for her. In this review, the patient and the specialist must sign a form together to confirm that she understands the risks or wishes to consider an alternative treatment.
The following flowchart has been created for the referral of female patients under 60 prescribed valproate products for either psychiatric illness trust wide or via the Barnsley neurology team for epilepsy.
During the annual review the following acknowledgment risk form will be completed and shared with the GP and patient.
Additional information/resources to share with health care professionals and patients are below including valproates guides for patients:
- Valproate booklet for healthcare professionals
- Valproate booklet for patients
- Valproate patient business card
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for healthcare practitioners about valproate prescribing
Page last updated on: