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Pregnancy, Epilepsy, and Womens Issues

Pennell, Page B. MD

CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology: June 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 3, Epilepsy - p 697–714
doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000431383.14061.e6
Review Articles

Purpose of Review: Optimal treatment of women with epilepsy includes consideration of the complex interactions of sex steroid hormones with epilepsy and antiepileptic drugs, and of the potential risks of any antiepileptic drug prescribed during a pregnancy.

Recent Findings: Clinical studies in women with epilepsy have provided a better foundation of knowledge about the complex relationships between cycling sex steroid hormones, seizure frequency, antiepileptic drugs, contraception, and neuroendocrine abnormalities. Pregnancy registries and observational studies have provided key data that allow for a better estimation of risks to the developing fetus.

Summary: Understanding these key factors should enable informed treatment recommendations that can reduce adverse health effects in women with epilepsy and improve both seizure control and maternal and fetal outcomes.

Address correspondence to Dr Page B. Pennell, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115, ppennell@partners.org.

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Pennell reports no disclosure.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Dr Pennell discusses the unlabeled use of progesterone lozenges for the treatment of catamenial epilepsy.

© 2013 American Academy of Neurology