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AEDs and Pregnancy

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....

New epilepsy drugs safe in pregnancy, study finds

Doctors used to tell women with epilepsy not to have children, because the only available medications to treat the disorder also increased the risk of birth defects. But newer antiepileptic medications used during the first trimester carry no such risks, finds a new study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Commonly, the message was, ‘you cannot have children,’” says Dr. Page Pennell, chair of the Professional Advisory Board for the Epilepsy Foundation. “So it really was an unfortunate situation when young women or even teenagers were told that their whole life-course was determined by the fact that they need an epilepsy medication.” The second-generation of antiepileptic medications began appearing in the early 1990s, and are commonly prescribed to treat ...

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