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The FDA recently issued a warning to healthcare professionals to not prescribe the popular migraine medication Topamax to women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant due to a high risk or oral birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate.

Topamax was originally approved by the FDA as an anticonvulsant, but now is most commonly prescribed for migraine headache prevention. Topamax is also used to treat many other ailments and including bi-polar disorder.

Oral birth defects, like cleft lip and palate, occur in the first trimester of pregnancy when the lip or palate does not fuse correctly. The use of Topamax during the first trimester can greatly increase the risk of a child developing an oral defect.

Due to the fact that many are unaware that they are pregnant for at least a portion of the first trimester, it is extremely important for women of child bearing age to exercise great caution while taking Topamax.

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