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Topamax, an epilepsy and migraine drug, may increase the risk of birth defects in children. A small study appears to point to an association between birth defects and Topamax, when the drug was used by epilepsy patients during pregnancy. The type of birth defects found included cleft palate, cleft lip and male genital birth defects. Previous animal studies had pointed to a Topamax/birth defect link, and this study of humans seems to confirm those findings. A combination of Topamax and the epilepsy drug valproate resulted in the highest rate of birth defects. The researchers acknowledge that the study is small and more research needs to be done. Doctors stress that uncontrolled seizures are a greater risk to a fetus women than epilepsy treatments and that discontinuance of treatment during pregnancy can be dangerous for both the woman and her baby. The study focused on epilepsy patients, but the findings may also be relevant to migraine patients. Migraines affect almost 30 million Americans, with a large number of them being women. Topamax, manufactured by Ortho McNeill Neurologics, has become a popular treatment for migraines, since its approval four years ago as a migraine treatment. If the findings are confirmed, pregnant women who suffer from migraines may be urged to consider other treatments, rather than Topamax.

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