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FDA: Topamax Increases Risk of Babies Being Born with Oral Clefts

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- On Friday, The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that using the drug Topamax (topiramate) can increase the risk of babies being born with cleft lip and cleft palate.

The drug is used for the treatment of seizures in people who have epilepsy and also to prevent migraine headaches from occurring.

The FDA warning, which also extends to the generic versions of the drug, says that the increased risk applies to women who use the drug during pregnancy. The FDA is urging health care professionals to warn their patients who are of childbearing age about the potential hazard topiramate poses to the fetus if women use the drug while pregnant. Health professionals are also being urged to use alternative drugs that have a lower risk of birth defects.

According to a release by the FDA, oral clefts are birth defects that occur when parts of the lip or palate don't completely fuse together in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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