Enter your Email address:
Wolters Kluwer Health may email you for journal alerts and information, but is committed
to maintaining your privacy and will not share your personal information without
Morrell, Martha M.D.
Martha Morrell, M.D., is clinical professor of neurology at Stanford University and chief medical officer of NeuroPace, Inc.
Q I take oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) right now for my seizures, and I am planning on having a child in the near future. Can this drug increase the risk of birth defects?
A It's terrific that you're asking this question now and that you're planning for the future. Most women with epilepsy must continue to take medications during pregnancy to control their seizures. However, some antiepileptic drugs might increase the risk for birth defects or problems in child development. Several pregnancy registries worldwide are starting to produce information about this risk. (It's very important that women who become pregnant while taking an antiepileptic drug contact their physician so that they can be entered into one of these registries.) We don't yet have information about oxcarbazepine, but we do have information about some of the other commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Valproate (Depakote) may increase the risk for birth defects from a rate of about 2 percent in the general population to as high as 10 percent. An older medication, phenobarbital, may also increase the risk of birth defects, to about 6 percent. Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol) and lamotrigine (Lamictal) have not been associated with a higher risk for birth defects, according to information released thus far from the pregnancy registries.
Several strategies will lower your risk. First, make sure you get good prenatal care. Second, take your antiseizure medication at the lowest effective dose. Third, when possible, take a single antiepileptic drug because research suggests taking more than one increases the risk for birth defects. Lastly, take prenatal vitamins that include folic acid, which we believe may protect against some of the birth defects associated with antiepileptic drugs.
©2007 American Academy of Neurology
Friend's E-mail is Invalid
Your Name: (optional)
Separate multiple e-mails with a (;).
Thought you might appreciate this item(s) I saw at Neurology Now.
Send a copy to your email
Your message has been successfully sent to your friend.
Some error has occurred while processing your request. Please try after some time.
An Existing Folder
A New Folder
The item(s) has been successfully added to "".
Speak Up Essays
Letters to the Editor
Login with your LWW Journals username and password.
Username or Email:
Enter and submit the email address you registered with. An email with instructions to reset your password will be sent to that address.
Link to reset your password has been sent to specified email address.
What does "Remember me" mean?
By checking this box, you'll stay logged in until you logout. You'll get easier access to your articles, collections,
media, and all your other content, even if you close your browser or shut down your
To protect your most sensitive data and activities (like changing your password),
we'll ask you to re-enter your password when you access these services.
What if I'm on a computer that I share with others?
If you're using a public computer or you share this computer with others, we recommend
that you uncheck the "Remember me" box.
Save my selection
Article Level Metrics