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Epilepsy Res. 1996 May;24(1):1-7.

Epilepsy and prolactin in adults: a clinical review.

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Department of Epileptology, University of Bonn, Germany.


Serum levels of prolactin may increase as a consequence of epileptic seizures. The hormone release is caused by the propagation of epileptic activity, usually from the temporal lobe to the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Due to the intensity of the epileptic afterdischarge, a rise is seen in approximately 60% of complex partial seizures. Prolactin usually fails to rise after psychogenic seizures, therefore, postictal prolactin levels can be used to differentiate between epileptic and psychogenic seizures. However, a subclassification of epileptic seizures by means of prolactin measurement is not possible. In repetitive seizures, prolactin may show a decrease in its postictal release. This is more common in status epilepticus, probably as a result of a diminished propagation of ictal activity during the course of status epilepticus. The influence of chronic epileptic discharges and anticonvulsant medication on prolactin release is moderate.

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