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Study Highlights Difficult Decisions Women With Epilepsy Have To Face When They Become Pregnant

Update Date: Oct 30, 2014 10:14 AM EDT
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A new study has highlighted the difficult decisions women with epilepsy have to face when they become pregnant. 

According to the study, there are not much evidences available on the anti-epileptic drugs and that more research is required to ensure women and their doctors make the most informed choices. 

Studies on children born to women with epilepsy increasingly suggest that some anti-epileptic medications affect development in the womb. However, most women with epilepsy rely on these medications to control seizures during pregnancy, the press release added.

"This review highlights the need for preconception counseling in women with epilepsy," said Rebecca Bromley, lead researcher of the study based at the Institute of Human Development at the University of Manchester in Manchester, UK, in the press release. "Counseling should take account of the fact that many pregnancies are unplanned and cover the risks of anti-epileptic drugs, whilst considering how well they control epileptic seizures."

"The review also highlights the need to counsel patients about risks and benefits of treatment alternatives at the time of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment initiation, so that informed decisions can be made. This is particularly important for women with idiopathic generalised epilepsy for whom valproate is the most effective treatment. Some women may choose to initiate valproate as they have no plans to conceive, while others may choose to avoid valproate and try a less effective drug accepting the associated risk of further seizures," added Tony Marson, Coordinating Editor Cochrane Epilepsy Group, University of Liverpool.

The study has been published in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014.

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