Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Folic Acid and Antiepileptic Drug Interaction

An interesting article I just came across about anticonvulsants (many of which are used for bipolar disorder):

In the general population, when a woman takes a daily multivitamin tablet with folic acid just before and at conception, her risk of having a child with spina bifida and other birth defects is decreased. However, for women taking AEDs, it is not yet clear if taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid will decrease their risk of having a baby with a birth defect. One concern is that some anticonvulsant drugs, like phenytoin (Dilantin®) and carbamazepine (Tegretol®) are folic acid antagonists, meaning that they counteract the effects of folic acid supplements. But, some other AEDs, like lamotrigine (Lamictal®) are not folic acid antagonists.

Very few research studies have addressed this issue. In one study, researchers at Boston University showed that folic acid supplements did not affect the risk for heart defects, oral clefts or urinary tract anomalies in children born to mothers taking some AEDs. However, in that same study these researchers found that taking a folic acid supplement decreased the risk for spina bifida in infants born to women taking carbamazepine (Tegretol®).

Click here to read the full article from the Antiepileptic Pregnancy Registry
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