Valproate Use During Spermatogenesis and Risk to Offspring

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Abstract

IMPORTANCE: Concerns exist about teratogenic and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes of paternal use of valproate during spermatogenesis.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between paternal use of valproate during spermatogenesis and offspring risk of congenital malformations and neurodevelopmental disorders.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This nationwide cohort study included 1 235 353 singletons born in Denmark between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 2017, identified in the Medical Birth Register; 1336 children had fathers who had filled prescriptions for valproate during spermatogenesis. Congenital malformations were identified in the first year of life and neurodevelopmental disorders were identified from 1 year of age until December 31, 2018. Statistical analysis was performed March 2024.

EXPOSURES: Paternal valproate exposure was defined as fathers who filled 1 or more prescriptions for valproate immediately before or during the time of spermatogenesis (ie, 3 months prior to conception).

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Children with major congenital malformations in the first year of life and with neurodevelopmental disorders before death or end of follow-up were identified in Danish health registers. Log-binomial regression was used to estimate adjusted relative risks (ARRs) of congenital malformations, and Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate adjusted hazards ratios (AHRs) of neurodevelopmental disorders, adjusted for relevant confounders.

RESULTS: Among 1 235 353 live births (634 415 boys [51.4%] and 600 938 girls [48.6%]), 1336 children (0.1%) had fathers who filled prescriptions for valproate during spermatogenesis. The median follow-up was 10.1 years (IQR, 5.1-14.8 years) for valproate-exposed children and 10.3 years (IQR, 5.2-15.6 years) for valproate-unexposed children. A total of 43 903 children (3.6%) received a diagnosis of major congenital malformations in the first year of life, and 51 633 children (4.2%) received a diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders during follow-up. When comparing the risk among valproate-exposed children with that among unexposed children, the ARR of major congenital malformations was 0.89 (95% CI, 0.67-1.18), the AHR of neurodevelopmental disorders was 1.10 (95% CI, 0.88-1.37), and the AHR of autism spectrum disorder was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.65-1.30). In analyses addressing the robustness of the findings (ie, dose-response analyses, sibling analyses, analyses restricted to children of fathers with epilepsy, analyses that used children with paternal lamotrigine exposure as active comparator, and analyses that used children with paternal exposure to valproate only before spermatogenesis as a negative control exposure), there still was no increased risk of any of the included end points.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In all analyses based on this large Danish cohort study, results suggest that exposure to valproate during spermatogenesis was not associated with offspring risk of congenital malformations or neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2414709
JournalJAMA network open
Volume7
Issue6
ISSN2574-3805
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Valproic Acid/adverse effects
  • Male
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Spermatogenesis/drug effects
  • Female
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders/epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Child
  • Paternal Exposure/adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants/adverse effects
  • Registries
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced/epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Congenital Abnormalities/epidemiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects/epidemiology

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