A new study published in the journal Lancet Neurology has warned that pregnant women who are given high doses of epilepsy drugs are at a greater risk of delivering babies who have birth defects.
Nearly 4,000 women were involved in the study conducted by researchers from Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of Pavia in Italy who found that 230 of more than 4,000 pregnancies of women with epilepsy resulted in birth defects.
The researchers looked into the effect of taking four different epilepsy drugs, Lamotrigine, carbamazepine, valproic acid and Phenobarbital. They found that birth defects were least among women who took Lamotrigine drug while they noted "significantly increased" risk among those who took the other three drugs.
Commenting on the study, Professor W Allen Hauser, from Colombia University in New York, said, "It is easy to recommend against use of a specific drug (valproic acid, for instance) because of a higher risk of malformations, but if seizure control is not possible with alternative therapeutic regimens, such recommendations are difficult to implement."