Bogus Studies, CoMorbidities, Epilepsy, Quackery

Bogus Study: Association of Prenatal Exposure to Anti Seizure Medication With Risk of Autism and Intellectual Disability

Here we go again. This is just like the Tylenol study, only this time, it’s for life saving medication. Studies like these increase public panic. This is mainly because someone who doesn’t have proximity to an autistic person does not know that autism isn’t a bad thing.

These studies look at medical records. They decide if a person takes a certain medication and also has an autistic child, that the medication causes autism. Correlation does not equal causation.

Studies like these will convince unsuspecting pregnant people not to their their anti seizure medication. This could cause a lot of harm.

There are advertisements all over social media convincing parents to sue the drug companies when there is no scientific link between the medication and autism. Not that a scientific link matters to these money hungry bottom feeders.

Common CoMorbidity

Epilepsy is a common comorbidity with autism. There was a study that was published in Practical Neurology in October 2020. According to this study, about 30% of autistic children also have epilepsy. It is thought to be this way because of genetic and microstructure brain differences.

When an Epileptic Stops Medication

Putting this study out can panic some people into stopping their anti seizure medication without speaking to their doctor. According to the Epilepsy foundation, this is dangerous.

This can cause withdrawal symptoms. This can also cause long seizures or status epilepticcus. This can happen if the person never had problems before.

If the person is taking more than one anti seizure medication, stopping one could change the level or amount of another seizure medication in the body. These sudden changes in drug levels can trigger seizures. If the level of medication in the body goes too low or goes too high, it can cause seizure.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation:

  • Don’t stop taking a seizure medication without talking to your doctor or healthcare provider first
  • If you are tired of taking medication or think its not working, don’t stop.
  • Do write down your concerns and talk to your doctor or nurse first.
  • If changes in medication is needed, it’s best to make the changes in a planned and safe way.

Study Design

This is a Nordic register based study of anti-seizure drugs in pregnancy. It is a population based cohort study using health register and social register data from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The data used was from 1996-2017. This analysis was performed in January 2022. They used medical records.

Participants

This study included 4,701,774 live births with mother/children identities and maternal prescription data. Out of those live births, 4,494,926 participated in this study. Children from a multiple pregnancy or with chromosomal differences or uncertain pregnancy length were excluded.

The mother participants were exposed to the medication from last day of their period until birth.

Results

The study concluded that there was a correlation in anti-seizure medication and autism. Correlation does not equal causation. We could say the same about oxygen or cheese.

sources:

https://practicalneurology.com/articles/2020-oct/epilepsy-and-autism

https://www.epilepsy.com/what-is-epilepsy/seizure-triggers/missed-medicines

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