December 28, 2020

Pregnancy Does Not Increase Seizures in Women With Epilepsy

Abstract, originally published in The New England Journal of Medicine

Women with epilepsy do not have an increased seizure rate during pregnancy as long as they have their medication levels carefully monitored, a new study suggests.

The study showed very similar fluctuations in seizure rates in women with epilepsy during pregnancy and the peripartum period to that of a group of matched nonpregnant controls.

“Our results show that pregnancy in and of itself does not increase seizures in women with epilepsy in the setting of recognition of increased drug clearance and increased medication dosing as needed,” lead author Page Pennell, MD, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.

“This is very much a reassuring result,” Pennell added. “Women with epilepsy are generally scared about pregnancy. While many want to start a family, they don’t want to risk their seizures getting worse, which has been a concern. Our results show that they don’t have to worry about that — that their risk is no different to that of non-pregnant controls, as long as they have their medication levels monitored.”