(HealthDay News) — At 6 years of age, no adverse effects on IQ can be seen from antiepileptic drug (AED) exposure via breast milk, according to a study published June 16 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Kimford J. Meador, MD, from Stanford University in California, and colleagues conducted a multicenter study of the long-term neurodevelopmental effects on children of in utero exposure to AED monotherapy (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, or valproate). Children (n=181) were assessed, and IQ and breastfeeding data were analyzed at six years of age.

The researchers found that 42.9% of children were breastfed a mean of 7.2 months. At 6 years of age, IQ was related to drug group (P<.001 with adjusted IQ worse for valproate compared to other drugs), drug dosage (P=.01 with higher dosage worse), maternal IQ (P=.01 with higher child IQ tied to higher maternal IQ), periconception folate use (adjusted IQ higher for folate, P=.005), and breastfeeding (adjusted IQ higher for breastfeeding, P=.045).

“No adverse effects of AED exposure via breast milk were observed at age 6 years, consistent with another recent study at age 3 years. In our study, breastfed children exhibited higher IQ and enhanced verbal abilities,” the authors write. “Additional studies are needed to fully delineate the effects of all AEDs.”

Several authors report financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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