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Neurodevelopmental outcomes in children and adults with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder: A contribution from the ConcePTION project

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laura YatesORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023Aim: To describe the neurodevelopmental phenotype of older children and adults with a diagnosis of Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder (FVSD). Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 90 caregivers were recruited and completed a series of questionnaires regarding the neurodevelopmental outcomes of 146 individuals aged 7–37 years (M = 18.1), including individuals with a formal diagnosis of FVSD (n = 99), individuals exposed to Valproate but without an FVSD diagnosis (n = 24), and individuals not exposed to Valproate (N = 23). The mean dose of valproate exposure for individuals with an FVSD diagnosis was 1470 mg/day. Results: Individuals with a diagnosis of FVSD showed significantly higher levels of moderate (43.4%) and severe (14.4%) cognitive impairment than other groups (p = 0.003), high levels of required formal educational support (77.6%), and poorer academic competence than individuals not exposed to Valproate (p = 0.001). Overall psychosocial problems (p = 0.02), internalising problems (p = 0.05) and attention problems (p = 0.001), but not externalising problems, were elevated in individuals with a diagnosis of FVSD. Rates of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autistic spectrum disorders (62.9%) and sensory problems (80.6%) are particularly central to the FVSD phenotype. There was no evidence of a statistical dose-dependent effect, possibly due to the high mean dose of exposure having a uniformly negative impact across the sample. Individuals with FVSD had required a significant number of health and child development services. Interpretation: Children and young adults with a diagnosis of FVSD are at an increased risk of a range of altered neurodevelopmental outcomes, highlighting the need for a multidisciplinary approach to clinical management across the lifespan.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bluett-Duncan M, Astill D, Charbak R, Clayton-Smith J, Cole S, Cook PA, Cozens J, Keely K, Morris J, Mukherjee R, Murphy E, Turnpenny P, Williams J, Wood AG, Yates LM, Bromley RL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neurotoxicology and Teratology

Year: 2023

Volume: 100

Print publication date: 01/11/2023

Online publication date: 04/09/2023

Acceptance date: 01/09/2023

Date deposited: 29/09/2023

ISSN (print): 0892-0362

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9738

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/

PubMed id: 37666366


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries (EFPIA)
Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking
uropean Union Horizon 2020