Epilepsy Drugs During Pregnancy Linked to Birth Defects

by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  November 30, 2016 at 12:32 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
  • Epilepsy occurs due to the malfunction of neurons in the brain.
  • Anti-epileptic medications are used to treat seizures.
  • Carbamazepine, topiramate, phenytoin are linked to birth defects in children.
Birth defects were linked with the use of certain type of epileptic medications, finds a study from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester.
Epilepsy Drugs During Pregnancy Linked to Birth Defects
Epilepsy Drugs During Pregnancy Linked to Birth Defects

Epilepsy is a neurological condition which is represented by seizures. It is caused due to the malfunctioning of neurons in the brain. Epileptic women are advised to follow medications even during pregnancy. These medicines might result in a high risk of malformation or birth defect to the baby.

‘Newer epileptic drugs like levetiracetam and lamotrigine are associated with a lower risk of birth defects in children.’
The research study aimed to find the risk of birth defects in children if the women had taken antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy.

The study findings were published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Around 50 published studies were analyzed, and the use of sodium valproate drug during pregnancy was found to have a 10% chance of birth defects in the child.

Study Findings

Drugs like carbamazepine, topiramate or phenytoin, when taken during pregnancy, were found to show an increased risk of birth defects in children.

Skeletal and limb defects, cardiac defects, craniofacial defects and neural defects are some of the different types of birth defects in children.

Phenobarbital drug was found to be associated with an increased risk of cardiac defects in children.

Newer epileptic drugs like levetiracetam, lamotrigine decreased the risk of birth defects when compared to epileptic medications like carbamazepine, topiramate or phenytoin.

Tony Marson, Professor of Neurology, University of Liverpool's Institute of Translational Medicine, said: "This is a really important review that informs complex discussions during consultations about epilepsy treatment choices for women of childbearing potential, who represent around a third of people with epilepsy worldwide.

"Based on current evidence, levetiracetam and lamotrigine appear to be the AEDs associated with the lowest level of risk, but more data are needed, particularly concerning individual types of malformation.

Source: Medindia

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