Navigation Links
Common Epilepsy Drug Taken During Pregnancy Might Raise Spina Bifida Risk
Date:12/3/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women with epilepsy who are taking carbamazepine (Tegretol) to control seizures may be at a slightly increased risk of having an infant with spina bifida, a new study finds.

Spina bifida is a condition in which the bones of the spine do not close but the spinal cord remains in place, usually with skin covering the defect. Most children will need lifelong treatment for problems arising from damage to the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

"For women with epilepsy, seizure control during pregnancy is very important," said lead researcher Lolkje de Jong-van den Berg, from the division of pharmacy at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. "Our study can help in decisions regarding whether carbamazepine should be the drug of choice in pregnancy."

However, the best option regarding treatment can be chosen only on an individual basis by the woman and her neurologist before pregnancy, weighing the benefits of epilepsy control against the risk of birth defects, de Jong-van den Berg said.

The report is published in the Dec. 3 online edition of the BMJ.

For the study, de Jong-van den Berg's team reviewed existing research to determine the risk of birth defects among women taking Tegretol.

The researchers found that infants of women taking Tegretol were 2.6 times more likely to have spina bifida, compared with women not taking any anti-epileptic medication.

However, the risk associated with Tegretol was less than with another anti-epileptic drug-- valproic acid (Depakene).

In fact, Tegretol was less risky than valproic acid when it came to other birth defects such as hypospadias, where a boy's urinary opening develops in the wrong part of the penis or in the scrotum.

"Carbamazepine is specifically related to an increased risk of spina bifida," de Jong-van den Berg said. "But you have to keep in mind that the absolute risk is small."

For Tegretol taken in the first trimester, the overall risk of a major malformation was 3.3 percent, the study authors reported.

The same group of researchers found in another study, published this year in the New England Journal of Medicine, that women taking valproic acid were six times more likely to have an infant with spina bifida and seven times more likely have an infant with hypospadias, compared with women using other anti-epileptic drugs.

The researchers agree with a recommendation from the American Academy of Neurology that valproic acid should be avoided in pregnancy if possible.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, said that "for women of childbearing age, these drugs represent a risk."

Women need to balance the risk and benefit of these drugs, he explained. Women with epilepsy need to stay on an anti-epileptic drug while they are pregnant, Devinsky said.

"The risk of seizure to themselves and potentially to their fetus is greater than the risk of anti-epileptic drugs," he added.

There are alternative drugs, specifically lamotrigine (Lamictal) and levetiracetam (Keppra). However, there is little data on any dangers associated with these drugs during pregnancy, Devinsky noted.

Another expert, Dr. Kimford Meador, a professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, said women need to know the risks associated with Tegretol.

"If a woman is of childbearing potential and you are prescribing this drug, that's when the conversation needs to occur," Meador said.

More information

For more information on epilepsy, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Lolkje de Jong-van den Berg, Ph.D., Pharm.D., Division of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, the Netherlands; Orrin Devinsky M.D., director, Epilepsy Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, and professor, neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Kimford Meador, M.D., professor, neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta; Dec. 3, 2010, BMJ, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Adapting to clogged airways makes common pathogen resist powerful drugs
2. A common cholesterol drug fights cataracts, too
3. U.S. National Guard Connects Nationwide with Desktop Alert's Command and Control Mass Notification Systems and Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)
4. US21, Inc. is Granted a Wholesale Distributor Permit from the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Pharmacy
5. New therapeutic target for most common solid cancer in childhood?
6. Migraine More Common in Women with MS
7. Contrast-enhanced MRI could play a key role in differentiating between common types of arthritis
8. Six "Common Sense" Points Not Included In The Health Care Discussion? Should They Be?
9. Six "Common Sense" Points Not Included In The Health Care Discussion? Should They Be?
10. Common osteoporosis drugs are associated with a decrease in risk of breast cancer
11. Commonwealth Leverage Group and Helium Interactive Form HIE Go-To-Market Partnership
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Common Epilepsy Drug Taken During Pregnancy Might Raise Spina Bifida Risk
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s ... Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is introducing a ... episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted on PBS ... in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve in ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a missionary ... Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published author, ... ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she has ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of technology and learning solutions ... Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 at the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one ... U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location in Covington, LA at ... former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/7/2017)... IRVING, Texas , Oct. 6, 2017   ... industry with more than $100 billion in purchasing power, ... industry news and information. The Newsroom is ... chain and industry trends, infographics, expert bios, news releases, ... Besides having access to a wealth of resources at ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... and Consulting, LLC , and named its founder as ... in Tennessee , will operate under ... EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care partners to include ... "In an interoperable world, technology delivers ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC), will host ... webcast on Friday, November 3, 2017, beginning at 7:00 ... approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) / 9:30 a.m. (EDT). ... performance and guidance for 2018, Hill-Rom executives will also ... performance, and long-range financial outlook through 2020. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: