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Study Reports that Epilepsy Drugs May Up Pregnancy Risks

According to a study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, women taking drugs to treat their epilepsy are at greater risk of suffering form pregnancy complications than women who are not taking anti-seizure medications. The researchers, who are from the University of Bergen, also say that women taking this type of medication are at higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia (this can prove deadly to both mother and child), postpartum hemorrhage, vaginal building, and birth complications requiring cesarean or vaginal operative delivery.

The study examined over 400 woman who had babies in Bergen between 1999 and 2006. Half the women in the study had epilepsy. While 8% of the women taking antiseizure medications had pre-eclampsia while they were pregnant, only 3% of those who hadn’t taken the drug suffered from the same condition. Also, researchers say that women taking antiseizure meds were twice as likely to have to undergo emergency C-section and induced labor and 6 ½ times more likely to deliver a baby with birth defects. Our Boston injury lawyers would like to remind you that if you or someone you love was injured or suffered health complications or developed birth defects from taking any type of medication, you may have grounds for a Massachusetts products liability lawsuit.

It was just in 2006 that the Food and Drug Administration added a “black box” warning notifying user that Depakote, which is used to treat epilepsy, upped the likelihood of birth defects. A study showed that 20% of moms who had been taking the drugs while pregnant had babies with birth defects or malformations, such as cleft palate, spina bifida, malformed limbs, abnormal skull development, urinary tract problems, and holes in the heart. Similar side effects have been linked to the epilepsy drugs Tegretol, Epitol, and Equetrol. Earlier this year, the FDA added new warnings about the epilepsy drug Topamax to let people know that the medication increased the chances that infants exposed to it during the first trimester of pregnancy might be born with oral clefts.

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology


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