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AAN: Maternal Seizure Drug Use Not Harmful to Infants

No cognitive effects seen in 2-year-olds who breast-fed while their mothers were on monotherapy

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Breast-feeding infants whose mothers are on anti-epileptic drug monotherapy do not appear to have an increased risk of cognitive impairment at age 2, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Chicago.

Kimford Meador, M.D., of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., and colleagues measured the Mental Developmental Index (MDI) scores of 187 children aged 2 years whose mothers took carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin or valproate during pregnancy and afterwards. Of these children, 41 percent were breast-fed.

Overall, the researchers found that breast-fed children had higher median MDI scores than children were not breast-fed (98.1 versus 89.5), a trend that was consistent regardless of which medication their mothers took. But after adjusting for maternal IQ, they found that the difference was not statistically significant.

"This preliminary analysis fails to demonstrate deleterious effects of breast-feeding during anti-epileptic drug therapy on children's cognitive outcomes, but caution is advised due to study limitations," the authors conclude. "Additional research is needed to confirm this observation and extend investigations to other anti-epileptic drugs and polytherapies."

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