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P.M. Briefing : Drug Causes Infant Defects: Study

June 21, 1989|From Times wire services

NEW YORK — A widely used drug for treating epilepsy and manic depression caused mental and physical defects in infants whose mothers took the drug during pregnancy, a new study said today.

The drug, Tegretol, delayed the mental development of 20% of children exposed to the drug prenatally, increasing the risk that these children may become retarded, according to the study in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Tegretol, the brand name for the chemical carbamazepine, is made by the Swiss firm Ciba-Geigy AG, whose U.S. headquarters are in Summit, N.J. Carbamazepine is also made by Lederle Laboratories of American Cyanamid Co. in Wayne, N.J.

Ciba-Geigy responded in a statement that the study is flawed and does not "provide conclusive information on the use of Tegretol in pregnant women."

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