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Do drugs for epilepsy harm the fetus?

Q: I am 33 years of age, married for about 1 and a half years and now I am 4 and a 1/2 months pregnant. My husband is epileptic and takes tablets regularly (carbatol 200 - 4 doses, Livogen - 2 doses and Hepatogard - 2 doses daily). What I would like to know is will the medicines effect the baby in any way? He was taking the same doses of medicines when I conceived.

A:There will be no impact on the baby simply because the father has been taking carbamazepine (sold under various brand names such as Tegrital, the original research medicine of Novartis, Carbatol etc). I fail to see any reason for the patient taking Livogen. Even though the name is suggestive of liver, it is meant to correct deficiency of iron. Its formula was changed quite some time ago but many people are not aware of this fact. You may wish to get this part of the prescription reviewed. It is true that carbamazepine has sometimes adverse effect on the liver. A product like Hepa-Merz tablets (1 tab. three times daily) may be beneficial. Hepatogard is not an allopathic product and hence we are unable to comment on its effects and side effects. As per Supreme Court ruling, allopathic doctors are prohibited from prescribing such medicines.

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