You Can Blame Hormones for This One

Epileptic women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant face several challenges

(RxWiki News) Doctors treating epilepsy patients should take into account specific hormonal situations in women, which can reduce limitations imposed by the disease.

Researchers including Sabine Weil of Munich University concluded this recently after evaluating recommended guidelines and the international literature on conception and pregnancy, contraception, hormonal influences and choice of medication.

Among their findings: Unless there is no alternative, women should not be started on the active substance valproate – found in prophylactic folic acid, often an advised treatmet for epileptic women who want to have a child – because of its potential teratogenicity (the capability of producing fetal malformations). Also, polycystic ovary syndrome is more prevalent among epileptic women taking this drug.

The researchers also found that certain antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) may weaken or even abolish the effect of contraceptives, which, in turn, can lower the concentration of AEDs.

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Review Date: 
November 29, 2010