Researchers, led by Shuk-Li Man, analysed prescribing trends for anti-epileptic drugs from 1994 to 2009. The results show that prescribing of newer medicines has steadily increased. Lamotrigine has been the most popular medicine prescribed in pregnancy since 2004. However, the use of carbamazepine and sodium valporate has decreased.
The authors of the study have recommended that women are taught about the risks and benefits of epilepsy medication. This would preferably be before pregnancy. They would then be able to make an informed decision about treatment during their pregnancy.
Nicole Crosby-McKenna, women’s officer at Epilepsy Action, said: “The majority of women with epilepsy enjoy healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies. But it is vital that women with epilepsy are given information about all aspects of pregnancy and epilepsy.”
She added: “Women should be encouraged to work together with healthcare professionals so that their care before, during and after pregnancy can be properly managed. This will help reduce the risk of increased seizures, maternal death and malformations in babies born to women with epilepsy.”
More information about epilepsy and pregnancy.