Infertility risk rises in women on multiple antiepileptic drugs

November 16, 2010

For women with epilepsy, the risk of infertility increases with each additional antiepileptic drug, and more than one-third may be unable to conceive, according to research published online October 11 in Neurology and reported by HealthDay News.

For women with epilepsy, the risk of infertility increases with each additional antiepileptic drug (AED), and more than one-third may be unable to conceive, according to research published online October 11 in Neurology and reported by HealthDay News.

Sapna Cheravalloor Sukumaran, MBBS, of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in India, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of 375 women with epilepsy who enrolled in a registry while in the preconception stage. The purpose of the study was to assess the degree of infertility in the women, who anticipated becoming pregnant.

After a follow-up period of up to 10 years, 38.4% of the cohort had not become pregnant. Infertility occurred in 7.1% of the women who had never been exposed to an AED and rose to 31.8% with exposure to one AED. Women on multiple AEDs had an even greater risk of infertility (40.7% with 2 AEDs and 60.3% with 3 or more AEDs). After adjustment, the use of 3 or more AEDs (odds ratio, 17.9), older age (OR, 1.32), and lower educational level (OR, 2.91) were predictors of infertility.