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J Neurol. 2009 Oct;256(10):1742-9. doi: 10.1007/s00415-009-5222-3. Epub 2009 Jun 30.

No increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes for women receiving antiepileptic drugs.

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Department of Neurology, General Cathay Hospital, Sijhih Branch, Taipei, Taiwan.


The objectives of this study were (1) to investigate the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes among the epileptic and general populations, including small for gestational age (SGA), low birth weight (LBW) and preterm delivery, using two large-scale nationwide population-based databases, and (2) to compare the risk of these adverse pregnancy outcomes between epileptic women who did and who did not receive antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment during pregnancy. This study used two national datasets: the National Health Insurance Research Dataset and birth certificate registry. We identified a total of 1,182 women who gave birth from 2001 to 2003 in Taiwan who had been diagnosed with epilepsy within the 2 years preceding the index delivery, together with 5,910 matched women as a comparison cohort. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed for estimation of risk. We found that approximately 14% of women with epilepsy received AED treatment during gestation. The adjusted odds of LBW, preterm births and SGA for epileptic women not receiving AED treatment during pregnancy were 1.31 (95% CI, 1.02-1.68), 1.35 (95% CI, 1.07-1.71) and 1.23 (95% CI, 1.03-1.46) times that of women without epilepsy, respectively. In contrast, no significant difference in the risk of LBW infants, preterm births and SGA babies was observed between epileptic mothers receiving AED treatment during pregnancy and women without epilepsy. Our study documents an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes for epileptic women who do not receive AED treatment during pregnancy, but none for epileptic women who do receive treatment.

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