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In-Utero Exposure to Migraine Drugs May Lower Offspring IQ

FDA recommends pregnant women avoid certain migraine medicines completely

TUESDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women should steer clear of certain migraine prevention medications which have been associated with decreased IQ scores in children exposed to them in utero, according to a May 6 news release issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The agency's recommendations are based on the results of a trial that found children whose mothers took products including and related to valproate sodium (used for preventing migraines, treating epileptic seizures, and other indications) during pregnancy had a decreased IQ at age 6 compared with children whose mothers took other anti-epileptic drugs.

The fetal risk associated with these drugs is already reflected in a boxed warning on valproate-containing medications. The findings regarding the risk of decreased IQ scores in children strengthen these recommendations.

"Valproate medications should never be used in pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches because we have even more data now that show the risks to the children outweigh any treatment benefits for this use," Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

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