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FDA: Topiramate could pose birth defects risk

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Pregnant mothers taking a common drug for treating epilepsy may be putting their babies at risk, according to a new report from the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA said Friday that the drug topiramate could increase the risk for such birth defects as cleft palate and cleft lip when used by expectant mothers. Johnson & Johnson markets the drug under the name Topamax, and it is available in generic form.

“Healthcare professionals should carefully consider the benefits and risks of topiramate when prescribing it to women of childbearing age,” FDA Division of Neurology Products director Russell Katz said. “Alternative medications that have a lower risk of birth defects should be considered.”

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