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This article was published in January 2013. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Pregnant women more likely to stop taking medication

28 Jan 2013

pregnant womanA UK study has found that pregnant women with epilepsy are more likely to stop taking their epilepsy medicines, compared to women who are not pregnant.

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.”

The study is available to view on open access peer-review journal PLOS ONE.

More information about epilepsy and pregnancy.

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