Antiepileptic Drugs May Not Harm Breast-Fed Children

Study finds no harmful cognitive outcomes in children whose mothers breast-fed while on AEDs

THURSDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Children of mothers who breast-feed while on antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) do not appear to suffer harmful cognitive effects, according to research published online Nov. 24 in Neurology.

Kimford J. Meador, M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues studied 194 women with epilepsy taking one of four single AEDs to examine the cognitive effects on children at age 3 who were breast-fed while their mothers took AEDs.

The researchers found no intelligence quotient difference between the 42 percent of children breast-fed during the study and those who did not breast-feed. This was true for all AEDs combined and for each of the four individual drug groups (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, or valproate).

"This preliminary analysis fails to demonstrate deleterious effects of breast-feeding during AED therapy on cognitive outcomes in children previously exposed in utero. However, caution is advised due to study limitations. Additional research is needed to confirm this observation and extend investigations to other AEDs and polytherapy," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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