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Antiepileptic Drugs Do Not Affect Breastfed Kids

Update Date: Jun 16, 2014 10:28 PM EDT

Breastfeeding mothers don't need to worry about using antiepileptic drugs. New research reveals that children breastfed by mothers on AED therapy showed no negative effects at six years of age.

Lead researcher Dr. Kimford J. Meador, of Stanford University, California, and colleagues, looked at the cognitive outcomes in kids of mothers with epilepsy treated with AEDs.

The study revealed that there was no difference in IQ between children who were breastfed and those who were not. After looking at the IQ data of 181 children at age six as it is more predictive than age three at school performance and adult abilities, researchers found that there were no significant adverse cognitive effects in children breastfed by mothers using antiepileptic drugs.

Researchers said that 43 percent of the children were breastfed an average of seven months.

However, IQ at age six years was linked to the type of drug. Children with moms who were on valproate during breastfeeding scored seven to 13 points lower on IQ tests.

However, higher maternal IQ, folate use and breastfeeding time were associated with higher IQ.

The study revealed that children who were breastfed had higher verbal abilities than those who were not.

"Our study does not provide a final answer, but we recommend breastfeeding to mothers with epilepsy, informing them of the strength of evidence for risks and benefits. Our recommendation is based on the known positive effects of breastfeeding, the results of our study, an unsubstantiated speculative risk, and theoretical reasons why breastfeeding when taking AEDs would not offer additional risk," researchesr concluded.

The findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

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