Feb 10 – 16 is National Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome Awareness (FACSA) Week 2014.

facs-logo-purple3FACSA Official Awareness Week – During this week FACSA hope to raise awareness of the condition. Autism Daily Newscast covered FACSA and one of its co-founders, Emma Murphy back in December.

Fetal Anti Convulsant Syndrome is a condition caused when a woman takes Anti Epileptic drugs (Sodium Valproate, Carbamazipine & Phenytoin before or during her pregnancy for epilepsy, depression, mood swings, pain relief, ADHD, bipolar disorder or migraines

‘Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome (FACS) can occur when a mother has to take epilepsy medications (anti-convulsants) during pregnancy. A child with FACS may have a delay in developing speech and language or may have difficulties with social interaction, memory and attention. Some may also have other conditions, such as spina bifida. A number of children with FACS also have a diagnosis of autism.’ NAS website

East Midlands Euro MP Glenis Willmott has taken up the cause of families affected by Sodium Valproate (Epilim) which some are calling “The new Thalidomide.”

She is demanding answers from the Government and from the drugs company Sanofi.

Since Sodium Valproate (Epilim) introduction in the late 1970’s, a large number of women taking the drug have given birth to children with numerous difficulties and abnormalities, known as Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndromes.

Catherine Cox, who lives in Keyworth, whose son Matthew is one of the children affected, has been involved in the campaign since 2004.

She explained:

“We’ve raised a whole host of questions regarding Epilem with the Department of Health and with the drugs company – we’ve received nothing but stonewalling… As mothers, we want answers.”

Glenis Willmott MEP, Courtesy of Facebook

Glenis Willmott MEP, Courtesy of Facebook

Glenis Willmott said:

“I’ve been appalled to hear of the lack of response which Catherine and other parents (from IN-FACT and FACSA, organisations dealing with Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndromes) have had from government and from the company involved, Sanofi. The unwillingness to respond to the medical and scientific evidence is totally unacceptable.”

She further adds:

“I’ve been so impressed by the determination of these women campaigners. We owe it to them to have a full enquiry. With European Epilepsy Day on February 14th, it’s time for some action.”

You can follow FACSA on twitter and can support the campaign by using the hashtag #fetalanticonvulsantsyndromeawareness
The website can be found here
You can also follow on Facebook