January 1, 2020

Hormonal vs Nonhormonal Contraception and the Impact on Seizure Frequency

Research presented at the American Epilepsy Society Meeting

Compared to nonhormonal contraception (NHC), hormonal contraception (HC) appears to pose a greater risk for increased seizure frequency in women with epilepsy, especially among those being treated with lamotrigine. This according to research presented at the 2019 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, held December 6 to 10, in Baltimore, Maryland.

While retrospective survey evidence has suggested that women with epilepsy have an increased risk for greater seizure frequency while on HC compared to NHC, there is a need for large-scale prospective studies. As such, the Epilepsy Birth Control Registry (EBCR) gathered prospective data on the seizure frequency of 101 women with epilepsy aged 18 and 47 years who switched between HC (depomedroxyprogesterone, implanted progestin, vaginal ring, hormonal patch, or oral contraceptive pills) and NHC (no contraception, IUD, barrier, and withdrawal).

Data was recorded for the 3 months preceding and subsequent to change in contraceptive method. Interim analyses focused on risk ratio (RR) (>50% decrease or increase in seizure frequency) after change in contraceptive method, monthly seizure frequency changes before and after change in contraceptive method, and effect of anti-epileptic drug (AED) category (no AED, glucuronidated [lamotrigine], enzyme-inhibiting, non-enzyme inducing, enzyme-inducing, mixed) or AED change during the recording period.

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