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Pregnancy

Epilepsy does not impact likelihood of pregnancy

Women with epilepsy, without previous infertility and related disorders, who were attempting to get pregnant were as likely to conceive as their counterparts without epilepsy, according to findings recently published in JAMA Neurology. “Prior studies report lower birth rates for women with epilepsy but have been unable to differentiate between biological and social contributions,” Page B. Pennell, MD, department of neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues wrote. “To our knowledge, we do not have data to inform [women with epilepsy] seeking pregnancy if their likelihood of achieving pregnancy is biologically reduced compared with their peers.”

Infant’s scores on Apgar scale can predict risk of cerebral palsy or epilepsy

An infant’s scores on the so-called Apgar scale can predict the risk of a later diagnosis of cerebral palsy or epilepsy. The risk rises with decreasing Apgar score, but even slightly lowered scores can be linked to a higher risk of these diagnoses, according to an extensive observational study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the esteemed journal The BMJ.

Prenatal Folic Acid Supplementation Found to Reduce Risk of Autistic Traits in Children of Women Taking AEDs

Prenatal folic acid supplements were found to reduce the risk of autistic traits in children born to women who were taking antiepileptic drugs while pregnant, according to a study published online on December 26 in JAMA Neurology.   The risk was less for these women compared with those who did not take folic acid supplements.

High dose of Topiramate during pregnancy can up the risk of cleft lip or cleft palate in babies

The risk was higher when the mother took high doses of the drug than when she took lower doses.   A study says a higher dose of topiramate drug during the first tri-semester of pregnancy may up the risk of cleft lip or cleft palate more than when taking a lower dose. Topiramate is prescribed to prevent seizures in people with epilepsy. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches or treat bipolar disorder. In combination with phentermine, it may be prescribed for weight loss. “While topiramate is not recommended for pregnant women, unplanned pregnancies are common, so it’s important to fully examine any possible risk,” said Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Adding, “Our study found that when pregnant women took topiramate during the f...

Is Lamotrigine Safe in Pregnancy?

Researchers evaluated the safety of the anti-epileptic medication, lamotrigine use during pregnancy on newborns and child development.   Most of the current evidence on antiepileptic drug (AED) use in pregnant women and the resulting increased incidence of child malformation and neurodevelopmental delay refers to the older generation of AEDs. Lamotrigine is a newer generation AED that is effective in treating a wide range of epileptic disorders and is generally well-tolerated and safe. Since there is currently no consensus on lamotrigine use in pregnancy and its impact on child malformations and neurodevelopment, researchers recently evaluated the impact of lamotrigine in children who were exposed to the drug in utero, that is, before birth.

Epilepsy drugs pose risks to developing brains, study suggests

Some drugs used to treat epilepsy harm children who are exposed to them in the womb or through breast milk, a new analysis of the literature suggests1. The drug valproate is particularly risky, boosting the likelihood of autism and other developmental problems up to 17-fold. The study is the first to compare the relative risks of taking various epilepsy drugs during pregnancy. Some of these medications are also used to treat bipolar disorder and migraines.

Safety of Antiepileptic Drugs During Pregnancy

A study investigated the association between maternal epilepsy, antiepileptic drugs used during pregnancy, and perinatal outcomes since there is little data comparing perinatal outcomes with or without antiepileptic drug use during pregnancy. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder marked by unpredictable, recurring seizures caused by disruptions in nerve cell activity in the brain.  During a seizure, any brain function can be affected.  Once diagnosed, people usually begin treatment with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) to reduce the number and duration of their seizures.  However, other health problems such as depression, insomnia, stomach upset, osteoporosis, or eye damage seem to be more prevalent amongst epileptics and it is unknown whether these are related to the disease, the medications, or both....

French regulator says up to 4,100 children victims of epilepsy drug

PARIS (Reuters) – An estimated 2,150 to 4,100 children in France suffered a major malformation in the womb between 1967 and 2016 after their mothers took a treatment against epilepsy and bipolar disorders known as valproate, France’s drug regulator said on Thursday. Valproate, which has been manufactured in France by Sanofi under the brand Depakine in the field of epilepsy and Depakote and Depamide in bipolar disorders, is also believed to cause slow neurological development.

Pregnancy weight linked to epilepsy: study

Babies born to severely obese, or grade III obesity, was associated with an 82 per cent increased risk of epilepsy.   A study of almost 1.5 million children has found the risk of epilepsy almost doubled among those born to severely obese mothers.   Being overweight during the first trimester of pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of childhood epilepsy.   A Swedish study of almost 1.5 million babies found the risk of epilepsy almost doubled from normal-weight women to very severely obese women.   Epilepsy disrupts the normal electrochemical activity of the brain resulting seizures.   The cause of this debilitating and often hard-to-treat condition is poorly understood.   With obesity on the rise, there is growing concern about the long-term neurological effects of children expose...

Genital herpes in pregnancy may raise autism risk for offspring

Children born to mothers who have active genital herpes during pregnancy may be at twice the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, new research suggests. Researchers suggest a link between active HSV-2 in early pregnancy and autism risk in offspring. Lead author Milada Mahic, of the Center for Infection and Immunity and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Norway, and colleagues report their findings in the journal mSphere. Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection primarily caused by herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). Around 417 million people worldwide have genital herpes caused by HSV-2, with around 10-20 percent of cases occurring in people who have received a prior diagnosis of the condition.

Mapping premature infant’s brain after birth may help better predict developmental problems

Scanning a premature infant’s brain shortly after birth to map the location and volume of lesions, small areas of injury in the brain’s white matter, may help doctors better predict whether the baby will have disabilities later.

Extremely Low AED Levels Found in Breastfed Infants of Mothers with Epilepsy

In a prospective study of women with epilepsy, researchers found blood levels of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) in their breastfed infants to be either undetectable or well below the therapeutic range. They reported the findings here Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. 

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