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Neurology. 1998 Nov;51(5 Suppl 4):S21-7.

Guidelines for the care of women with epilepsy.

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Department of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York, NY, USA.


Antiepileptic drug (AED) selection in women of reproductive age should consider efficacy, tolerability, interactions with contraceptive medications, and teratogenicity. Women planning a pregnancy should be counseled regarding the need for compliance with therapy and the risk for birth defects. All women with epilepsy who are of childbearing potential should receive folate supplementation. Vitamin K supplementation is recommended during the final month of pregnancy. Withdrawal of AED therapy in seizure-free women can be considered before conception. Women who require AED therapy should receive AED monotherapy rather than polytherapy when at all possible. Medication changes post conception do not significantly reduce the risk for major fetal malformations and may compromise seizure control. Breastfeeding is generally safe for women taking AEDs. Menstrual disorders, reproductive endocrine disorders, ovulatory dysfunction, and infertility appear to be relatively common in women with epilepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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