The fetal valproate syndrome

Am J Med Genet. 1984 Nov;19(3):473-81. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320190308.


We evaluated seven children who had been exposed to sodium valproate (or valproic acid) in utero. A consistent facial phenotype was observed in all seven in addition to other birth defects in four. The facial changes consisted of epicanthal folds which continued inferiorly and laterally to form a crease or groove just under the orbit, flat nasal bridge, small upturned nose, long upper lip with a relatively shallow philtrum, a thin upper vermillion border, and downturned angles of the mouth. Hypospadias, strabismus, and psychomotor delay were found in two males; two children had nystagmus and two had low birth weight.

MeSH terms

  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Face / abnormalities*
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Syndrome
  • Valproic Acid / adverse effects*


  • Valproic Acid