October 5, 2021

Vitamin B Status and Association with Antiseizure Medication in Pregnant Women with Epilepsy

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsia

Objective: Antiseizure medication (ASM) use interacts with vitamin B status in nonpregnant epilepsy populations. We aimed to examine the association between ASM and vitamin B status in pregnant women with epilepsy.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of pregnancies in women with epilepsy enrolled in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study from 1999 to 2008. Data on ASM and vitamin supplement use were collected from questionnaires. We analyzed maternal plasma concentrations of ASM and metabolites of folate, including unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA), riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and niacin (vitamin B3) during gestational weeks 17-19.

Results: We included 227 singleton pregnancies exposed to ASM with available plasma samples (median maternal age 29 years, range 18 to 41 years). From the preconception period to gestational week 20, any supplement of folic acid was reported in 208 of pregnancies (94%), riboflavin in 72 (33%), pyridoxine in 77 (35%), and niacin in 45 (20%). High ASM concentrations correlated with high concentrations of UMFA and inactive folate metabolites, and with low concentrations of riboflavin and metabolically active pyridoxine. There was no association between ASM and niacin status.

Significance: Antiseizure medication concentrations during pregnancy were associated with vitamin B status in pregnant women with epilepsy. Additional studies are needed to determine the clinical impact of these findings, and to define the optimal vitamin doses that should be recommended to improve pregnancy outcomes.

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