The risk of autistic disorders in children is increased more than two and a half times when Topiramate is consumed during pregnancy. This drug, used to treat epilepsy, also more than triples the risk of intellectual disability, a study has found.

Topiramate, used to treat epilepsy or migraine, causes neurodevelopmental disorders in children exposed to the drug during pregnancy. This is revealed by a recent study carried out in several Scandinavian countries. The National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) alerts this Wednesday, June 29 on its use.

Taken during pregnancy, Topiramate multiplies by more than two and a half (2.77) the risk of autistic disorders in children and by almost three and a half (3.47) the risk of intellectual disability.

The ANSM therefore asks doctors not to prescribe Topiramate to pregnant women suffering from epilepsy or suffering from migraine, but also to women who are planning a pregnancy, because there is also an impact on contraception.

Topiramate “may decrease the effectiveness of estrogen-progestogen pills”explains Doctor Philippe Vella, medical director at the ANSM. “The doctor can maintain the pill, but it will probably be necessary to use another contraceptive method in addition, for example a barrier method.”

The Medicines Safety Agency also advises that patients with epilepsy should not suddenly stop taking Topiramate as this may cause more seizures.

This antiepileptic is already known to cause malformations in children. Topiramate exposes, in the event of pregnancy, to a high risk of major malformations (multiplied by three), including cleft lips and palate (cleft lip and palate), damage to the genital organs (hypospadias) and a decrease in size of the head and brain (microcephaly), specifies the ANSM. It also presents an increased risk of low birth weight of the newborn.


Source:, Tammy Sewell