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Epileptic Disord. 2002 Oct;4 Suppl 2:S23-31.

Epilepsy and women's issues: an update.

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  • 1Neuology Clinic, Katonsspital St Gallen, Switzerland.


Although the fundamentals of epilepsy are similar for both males and females, the clinical management of epilepsy in women should take into consideration a variety of factors including: social and cultural issues, age, relationships, diagnosis and characterization, female specific syndromes, the influence of female hormones, hormonal contraceptives and hormonal replacement therapy, the cosmetic side effects of epilepsy treatment, fertility, pregnancy and child care. Regarding the issue of reproduction, there are several misconceptions in relation to fertility in women with epilepsy. In general, women with epilepsy do not have a markedly reduced fertility compared with those without. Standard AEDs in common use have been associated with an increased risk of foetal malformations and with newer AEDs there is very little information regarding teratogenicity. The incidence of congenital malformations is also known to increase with the number of AEDs. Before planning a pregnancy it is imperative that the best possible seizure control is achieved at the lowest possible AED dose, preferably in monotherapy. With this in mind, the importance of effective pre-pregnancy counselling should be stressed and along with appropriate patient management and folic acid supplementation, effective patient education, most women with epilepsy can lead normal lives and deliver healthy children. This report will provide an update on these important considerations for women with epilepsy from both a social and medical perspective.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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