Fetal anticonvulsant syndrome

C P Panayiotopoulos MD PhD (Dr. Panayiotopoulos of St. Thomas' Hospital has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.)
Harvey B Sarnat MD FRCPC MS, editor. (

Dr. Sarnat of the University of Calgary has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Originally released November 15, 1999; last updated April 18, 2019; expires April 18, 2022

This article includes discussion of fetal anticonvulsant syndrome, embryofoetal valproate syndrome, hydantoin-barbiturate-carbamazepine embryofoetopathy, fetal hydantoin syndrome, fetal phenytoin syndrome, fetal phenobarbital syndrome, fetal primidone syndrome, fetal trimethadione syndrome, and fetal valproate syndrome. The foregoing terms may include synonyms, similar disorders, variations in usage, and abbreviations.


Fetal anticonvulsant syndrome is a nonfortuitous cluster of a variety of congenital malformations in infants exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in utero. These include major congenital malformations such as cardiac and neural tube defects, oro-facial clefts, and hypospadias, minor malformations such as craniofacial dysmorphisms (hypertelorism, flat nasal ridge, low

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