Sunday January 21, 2018

‘Epilepsy drug during pregnancy ups the oral cleft risk in babies’

The findings are based on data on more than one million live births over a period of 10 years in the US.

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Low doses of topiramate may also increase the risk of oral clefts but to a lesser extent. Wikimedia Commons
Low doses of topiramate may also increase the risk of oral clefts but to a lesser extent. Wikimedia Commons
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The study, published in the journal Neurology, said the risk is particularly high when the drug is used in high doses. “Our results suggest that the increased risk of oral clefts is most pronounced in women taking higher doses of topiramate to treat epilepsy,” said study co-author Elisabetta Patorno of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, US.

“Low doses of topiramate may also increase the risk of oral clefts but to a lesser extent,” Patorno said. “We hope that this work gives important information to women and their clinicians as they determine the best course of treatment and options available to individuals,” Patorno added. The findings are based on data on more than one million live births over a period of 10 years in the US.

Epilepsy is likely due to the higher doses of topiramate when used for controlling seizures. Wikimedia Commons
Epilepsy is likely due to the higher doses of topiramate when used for controlling seizures. Wikimedia Commons

The team examined the risk of oral clefts including cleft palate or cleft lip among three groups infants born to women who had taken topiramate in their first trimester; infants born to women who had taken the drug lamotrigine (an unrelated drug used to treat bipolar disorder and epilepsy); and infants who had not been exposed to anti-epileptic medications in utero.

The researchers found that the risk of oral clefts was approximately three times higher for the topiramate group than for either the lamotrigine or the unexposed group.

“Our results suggest that women with epilepsy on topiramate have the highest relative risk of giving birth to a baby with cleft lip or cleft palate, likely due to the higher doses of topiramate when used for controlling seizures,” said corresponding author Sonia Hernandez-Diaz of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “The best course may be to avoid prescribing high doses of topiramate to women of childbearing age unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks,” she added. IANS

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Why you should avoid Paracetamol during pregnancy

The study shows, paracetamol could affect your daughters fertility

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Consumption of Paracetamol during pregnancy may affect the fertility of your daughter. Pixabay
Consumption of Paracetamol during pregnancy may affect the fertility of your daughter. Pixabay

Women who consume paracetamol during pregnancy, widely used to reduce a high fever or relieve pain, may increase the risk of damaging the fertility of their daughters, warns a new study.

“This study identifies a potential risk from taking parace0tamol or ibuprofen, although we don’t know exactly what effect it would have on human health nor what dose would be needed to harm fertility,” said Richard Sharpe, professor at the varsity.

Read more: Open defecation affects pregnancy, reveals study

Findings

Human ovaries exposed to paracetamol for a week in laboratories lost up to 40 per cent of their egg cells. Pixabay
Human ovaries exposed to paracetamol for a week in laboratories lost up to 40 per cent of their egg cells. Pixabay
  • Human ovaries exposed to paracetamol for a week in laboratories lost up to 40 per cent of their egg cells.
  • If this effect occurs in the womb, it could mean baby girls exposed to the common drug end up being born with fewer eggs.
  • This would give them fewer years in which they could become pregnant and lead to an early menopause.
  • It may be because both paracetamol and ibuprofen interferes with a hormone called prostaglandin E2, which appears to play a vital part in the development of the foetal reproductive system.

Also read: Pregnancy seems Safe for Breast Cancer Survivors: Study

The findings prompts fresh warnings for pregnant women to only take paracetamol when necessary and warrants further research. Pixabay
The findings prompts fresh warnings for pregnant women to only take paracetamol when necessary and warrants further research. Pixabay

Methodology

  • The team tested the effect of paracetamol and ibuprofen on human foetal testes and ovaries over a week. Researchers counted germ cells that turn into sperm and eggs.
  • In the ovary, the number of egg cells fell by up to 40 per cent, while in testes the number of germ cells was reduced by more than a fifth.

While unborn boys could also be affected by the drug. But unlike women, whose egg supply is limited, they keep producing sperm throughout their lives, meaning the danger to their fertility is not as serious, the researchers said.

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