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April 1981

Facial Clefts Among Epileptic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology, Hvidovre Hospital (Dr Friis) and Glostrup Hospital (Dr Lund), Copenhagen; the Institute of Clinical Genetics (Drs Broeng-Nielsen and Hauge) and the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology (Dr Sindrup), Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark; and the Department of Plastic Surgery, Deaconess Hospital, Copenhagen (Dr Fogh-Andersen).

Arch Neurol. 1981;38(4):227-229. doi:10.1001/archneur.1981.00510040053008

• Anticonvulsants have been suspected of teratogenicity, with facial clefts being the malformation most frequently associated with maternal anticonvulsant therapy. Paternal epilepsy has also been suggested as a factor in the genesis of birth defects, including facial clefts. An association between epilepsy per se and facial clefts would be reflected in a higher facial cleft prevalence among epileptics, and consequently result in an increase of such malformations among their children. The prevalence of facial clefts was determined in an unselected group of 3,203 epileptic probands: their personal data were cross-matched with a complete file of Danish facial cleft patients born between 1934 and 1977. Eleven epileptic probands had a facial cleft, which is twice the expected number. The increased prevalence of cleft defects among epileptics could partly explain why more of their children have facial clefts.

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