Epilepsy Drugs Can Lead To Unplanned Pregnancy

October 01, 1996

JHU Medical InstitutionsEpilepsy Drugs Can Lead To Unplanned Pregnancy

A Johns Hopkins study has found that more than 1 in 5 neurologists and obstetricians had patients with epilepsy who developed unwanted pregnancies because their anti-epilepsy drugs interfered with their birth control pills.

Several seizure drugs interfere with contraceptive pills and implants by accelerating the breakdown of an artificial sex hormone used to block conception. The drugs also can increase the risk of birth defects.

"These are known side effects of the seizure medications, but our survey showed they are not appreciated by doctors," says Greg Krauss, M.D., an assistant professor of neurology, who conducted the survey after five epilepsy patients with unplanned pregnancies were referred to him in two years.

Krauss' paper in the June issue of Neurology provided a list of eight steps for doctors treating sexually active female epilepsy patients. Doctors can decrease the risk of unplanned pregnancy by increasing birth control medication levels. Depending upon the type of epilepsy, some patients may be able to switch to drugs that don't interfere with birth control pills. Patients also can use other barrier methods of contraception to further reduce risk.

For media inquiries only, contact Michael Purdy (410) 955-8725 or mpurdy@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu.


Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related Epilepsy Articles from Brightsurf:

Focal epilepsy often overlooked
Having subtler symptoms, a form of epilepsy that affects only one part of the brain often goes undiagnosed long enough to cause unexpected seizures that contribute to car crashes, a new study finds.

Antibodies in the brain trigger epilepsy
Certain forms of epilepsy are accompanied by inflammation of important brain regions.

Breaching the brain's defense causes epilepsy
Epileptic seizures can happen to anyone. But how do they occur and what initiates such a rapid response?

Using connectomics to understand epilepsy
Abnormalities in structural brain networks and how brain regions communicate may underlie a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, which is one focus of a two-part Special Issue on the Brain Connectome in Brain Connectivity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Epilepsy: Triangular relationship in the brain
When an epileptic seizure occurs in the brain, the nerve cells lose their usual pattern and fire in a very fast rhythm.

How concussions may lead to epilepsy
Researchers have identified a cellular response to repeated concussions that may contribute to seizures in mice like those observed following traumatic brain injury in humans.

Understanding epilepsy in pediatric tumors
A KAIST research team led by Professor Jeong Ho Lee of the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering has recently identified a neuronal BRAF somatic mutation that causes intrinsic epileptogenicity in pediatric brain tumors.

Can medical marijuana help treat intractable epilepsy?
A new British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology review examines the potential of medicinal cannabis -- or medical marijuana -- for helping patients with intractable epilepsy, in which seizures fail to come under control with standard anticonvulsant treatment.

Fertility rates no different for women with epilepsy
'Myth-busting' study among women with no history of infertility finds that those with epilepsy are just as likely to become pregnant as those without.

Do women with epilepsy have similar likelihood of pregnancy?
Women with epilepsy without a history of infertility or related disorders who wanted to become pregnant were about as likely as their peers without epilepsy to become pregnant.

Read More: Epilepsy News and Epilepsy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.