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Birth injuries blamed on widely-used epilepsy medication

Epilepsy is a difficult condition to manage, so when doctors find a medication that works, they may encourage their patients to take it — even if it comes with possible health consequences. However, the health consequences associated with one common epilepsy medication are having devastating effects on babies.

According to medical researchers, taking the epilepsy drug topiramate may increase a pregnant woman's risks of giving birth to a baby with birth injuries.

Researchers found startling statistics

Researchers have published reports about a connection between topiramate and birth injuries. Particularly, children born to mothers who took the medication have a higher propensity for being born with cleft palates or cleft lips. The increased risk is especially relevant for pregnant epilepsy sufferers taking daily dosages of 200 mg.

In addition to serving as an epilepsy treatment, however, many women take topiramate to control their symptoms of migraines, as treatment for bipolar disorder and even as a weight-loss drug.

These findings first appeared in a report published in Neurology, a medical science journal. According to the author of the study, women who take the drug to treat epilepsy probably face a higher risk of having babies with birth defects because doctors prescribe higher doses of the drug in order to effectively treat epilepsy in their patients.

One of the biggest concerns for patients is the unplanned nature of many pregnancies and the fact that pregnant women and their unborn babies are quite sensitive to this medication in the earliest stages of pregnancy. It would be easy for an epilepsy patient to accidentally get pregnant, without realizing it and continue taking the drug, thereby endangering her baby.

Was your baby born with a cleft lip or cleft palate?

Parents should thoroughly investigate any cases of cleft lips or cleft palates in their newborns babies. In some cases, medical records could potentially reveal dangerous drugs that the mothers' doctors negligently prescribed while the mothers were pregnant. If something like this happened in your case, the doctor may have committed medical malpractice.

It's vital not too drag your feet if your intend to pursue any type of legal action, as there are strict limitations on the time you have to seek redress in such cases.

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