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JAMA. 1986 Jul 11;256(2):238-40.

Use of oral contraceptives by women with epilepsy.


Oral contraceptives have not been associated with exacerbation of epilepsy despite warnings in package inserts. No clinical study has provided scientific evidence of worsening of seizures in epileptic women who use oral contraceptives, and improvement in seizure control has occurred in some cases. The main concern about use of oral contraceptives in this population is their effectiveness in preventing conception. Failure rates are higher in groups of women taking enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs. The degree of increased metabolism of estrogen and progestin components is highly variable and unpredictable among individuals. Use of higher doses increases protection against conception but also increases the risk of side effects, particularly in patients in whom no enzyme induction occurs. The strength of hormones in the pill should be selected individually when initiating use. Some women may require higher doses for full contraceptive effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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