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Epilepsy Drug: Lamictal linked to birth defects

According to published reports in Canada, an anti-epilepsy drug, LAMICTAL has been linked to oral birth defects in babies born to mothers who took the medication.

In a statement issued by the drug's maker,  GlaxoSmithKline, after discussions with Health Canada, company officials say that pregnant women taking Lamictal (lamotrigine) in the first three months of a pregnancy run an increased risk of baby being born with a cleft lip and/or palate.

Oral clefts are among the most common major birth defects, according to GlaxoSmithKline, occurring in one or two of every 1,000 births.

However, the new data suggests eight of 1,000 babies born to users of the drug could have such a birth defect.

Women taking the drug should notify their doctors if they become pregnant or intend to get pregnant while taking Lamictal, company officials say.

Also, stopping or starting the drug should only be done after talking to a doctor, the company officials added.

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