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Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2011 Aug;11(4):435-42. doi: 10.1007/s11910-011-0196-9.

Hormonal therapy for epilepsy.

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Neurology, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Division of Epilepsy and Electroencephalography, Harvey Cushing Institutes of Neuroscience, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.


In 2011, there are greater than 20 antiepileptic medications available. These medications work by modulating neuronal excitability. Reproductive hormones have been found to have a role in the pathogenesis and treatment of seizures by also altering neuronal excitability, especially in women with catamenial epilepsy. The female reproductive hormones have in general opposing effects on neuronal excitability; estrogens generally impart a proconvulsant neurophysiologic tone, whereas the progestogens have anticonvulsant effects. It follows then that fluctuations in the levels of serum progesterone and estrogen throughout a normal reproductive cycle bring about an increased or decreased risk of seizure occurrence based upon the serum estradiol/progesterone ratio. Therefore, using progesterone, its metabolite allopregnanolone, or other hormonal therapies have been explored in the treatment of patients with epilepsy.

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