Cases of delayed development in children as a result of mothers taking a powerful epilepsy drug during pregnancy are inundating a Swindon-based legal firm.

David Gazzard, a partner at BLB Solicitors who manages their clinical negligence claims, said that he is being contacted with cases in which pregnant women were not warned of the dangers of sodium valproate, known as Epilim, which date back decades.

It comes after Moredon mother Natasha Mason last week spoke to the Adver about the impact the drug had on her son. She started taking it as a child, and was not warned about the risks of continuing to do so as an adult during pregnancy.

Her three-year-old son Alfie continues to be non-verbal, has severe autism, and has a chromosome deletion.

In recent days, the subject has reached a wider audience, with a survey showing that 70 per cent of women do not know the risk that sodium valproate, known as Epilim, poses to an unborn child. It is thought to carry a 10 per cent risk of causing physical abnormalities.

Mr Gazzard said: “We’ve been pretty much inundated, as you would imagine.

“BLB have been putting this out there for quite a long time, and it’s just quite a pity that it has taken this long to come to light.

Describing the problems the drug can cause, he said: “The problem manifests itself in delayed development. Often, mum and dad will notice that their son or daughter are not getting on as well at school as they ought to be.

“They often end up with special educational needs, and don’t fulfil the potential that they may otherwise have had.

“There are physical consequences as well, with distinct physical features, such as distinctively-shaped eyes, or webbed fingers or toes.”

Despite the recent uptake of interest in the problems sodium valproate can cause, Mr Gazzard said that he had been working on cases related to the drug for much longer.

He said: “I have been involved in these sorts of cases for seven or eight years.

“In many of the cases the children are still not at the age of majority, so they take quite a long time to be resolved.

“A lot of the cases revolve around being given the appropriate information at the right time.

“When you are looking at a circumstance 20 years ago, we have to look at what the level of knowledge was 20 years ago. They are not straight-forward claims.”