We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy


Sodium valproate and contraception

Sodium valproate is associated with an increased risk of harm to babies if taken during pregnancy. If you are a woman capable of becoming pregnant, sodium valproate should only be prescribed if no other epilepsy medicine suits you.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and you take sodium valproate, seek advice from your doctor and do not stop taking your medication.

Read more

If you take sodium valproate

Types of contraception that may work for you

Barrier methods

All barrier methods may work for you. These include:

  • Caps
  • Condoms
  • The coil
  • Diaphragms
  • Femidoms

Hormonal contraception

The hormonal contraception that may work for you include:

  • Combined oral contraceptive pill (the Pill)
  • Contraceptive implant
  • Contraceptive patch
  • Depo-Provera contraceptive injection – but see box below
  • Mirena coil
  • Noristerat contraceptive injection
  • Projestogen-only pill (the mini pill) - but see box below
  • Vaginal ring

Unplanned (emergency) contraception

The unplanned (emergency) contraception that may work for you include:

  • The morning-after pill
    • Levonorgestrel (Levonelle)
    • Ulipristal acetate (EllaOne)
  • The coil

Depo-Provera contraception injection
These can speed up bone loss, as can some epilepsy medicines. This may lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which causes bones to become thinner and more brittle, so they break more easily. For this reason, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested that Depo-Provera injections should be used with caution by some women. These are women who are under 18 and women who are over 45. However, WHO also say that the advantages of using Depo-Provera generally outweigh the disadvantages.

If you are considering using Depo-Provera injections, it’s advisable to seek advice about osteoporosis from your doctor.

More information about epilepsy and osteoporosis.

Progestogen-only pill (the mini pill)
The mini pill only works well if you take it according to the instructions from your doctor. This usually means taking it at the same time each day. If you don’t there is a risk that you will get pregnant.

Types of contraception that are not recommended for you

Natural birth control

All types of natural birth control are not recommended.

Information about different types of contraception.

Event Date: 
Friday 23 October 2015 - 12:42

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Beth Irwin, Epilepsy Nurse/Midwife at the UK Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register, Belfast, for her contribution to this information.

Beth Irwin has no conflict of interest to declare.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated October 2015
    To be reviewed October 2018

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment...

e-action newsletter

Subscribe to our e-action newsletter and stay informed

Subscribe to e-action newsletter feed