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Will I pass on my problem of fits to my child?

Q: I am 26 years old and suffering from fits. From the age of 16 I am taking regular medicine prescribed by the doctor. I took Tegrital 50 mg for 4 years but it did not help and now I am on Tegrital cr, Foluet 10 mg (folic acid) for the past one year. I am 7 months pregnant. Will my baby be affected with fits, if so, how can I prevent them?

A:Your baby will not suffer from fits because epilepsy is not a transmissible (hereditary) disorder. However one has to keep in mind that carbamazepine (Tegrital) use can lead to a small increase in risk of neural tube defects in the baby (about 1-2%). Therefore alpha-fetoprotein should be measured at 16 weeks gestation and pregnancy followed by periodic ultrasound and other tests. I think you should take folic acid with iron (Fecontin F Continus). Please also see the general statement below. General statement on selection of brands: There are scores, sometimes hundreds, of brands of the same medicine. Against about 300 pharmaceutical manufacturers in western countries like Britain, there are over 20,000 producers in India that market more than 40,000 brands. Most manufacturers do not have quality testing laboratories. Hence selection of brands is important. Many companies give incentives to prescribers to patronise their products. Patients should check the reputation of manufacturers before consuming medicines.


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