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Causes of Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

If you have a child or know someone with cleft lip and cleft palate, you may be wondering what causes cleft lip and cleft palate?

Doctors are often unable to determine the cause, but researchers have shown that when mothers have taken Topamax in the first trimester of pregnancy, their babies are 21 times more likely to develop cleft lip or cleft palate.

In many cases, however, the condition may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In other words, it may be related to a family history of the condition, the race of the parents, and what drugs were taken by the mother while pregnant. For example, if both parents had the condition, their children are more likely to have it as well. In addition to Topamax, Accutane and some drugs used to treat cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis can also increase the risk of cleft lip and cleft palate. Other environmental factors include cigarette smoke, alcohol, illicit drugs, maternal obesity, and some viruses. Cleft lip and cleft palate are also more common in people of Native American and Asian ancestry.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are facial and oral malformations that usually occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. With these malformations, there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area, and the tissue that is available does not join together properly. A cleft lip is a physical separation between the two sides of the upper lip, while a cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth.

If you or a loved one used Topamax or topiramate during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with cleft lip, cleft palate or other birth defects, contact Lopez McHugh, LLP for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-703-7070.