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Arch Neurol. 1990 Jun;47(6):670-6.

Serum hormones in male epileptic patients receiving anticonvulsant medication.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Oulu, Finland.


Circulating sex and thyroid hormones, as well as the pituitary function, were assessed in 63 male patients with epilepsy receiving either a single medication of carbamazepine, phenytoin, or valproate or a combination of carbamazepine plus phenytoin or carbamazepine plus valproate. All therapeutic regimens, including carbamazepine and/or phenytoin were associated with low levels of circulating thyroxine (T4), free thyroxine (FT4), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and with low values for the free androgen index, and phenytoin and carbamazepine plus phenytoin were associated with high serum concentrations of sex hormone-binding globulin. These hormone parameters were unaffected by valproate monotherapy. It seems probable that accelerated hormone metabolism is responsible for the hormonal changes found in patients treated with carbamazepine and/or phenytoin. However, every drug regimen studied also had depressant and/or stimulatory effects on the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. The diverse endocrine effects of different antiepileptic drug regimens should be considered when starting antiepileptic drug therapy.

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