Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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REVIEW: PROGRESS IN MEDICINE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 278-283

Controversies in contraception for women with epilepsy


R. Madhavan Nayar Centre for Comprehensive Epilepsy Care, Department of Neurology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjeev V Thomas
Department of Neurology, R. Madhavan Nayar Centre for Comprehensive Epilepsy Care, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum - 695 011, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.162261

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Contraception is an important choice that offers autonomy to women with regard to prevention of unintended pregnancies. There is wide variation in the contraceptive practices between continents, countries, and societies. The medical eligibility for contraception for sexually active women with epilepsy (WWE) is determined by the type of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) that they use. Enzyme inducing AEDs such as phenobarbitone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, and oxcarbazepine increase the metabolism of orally administered estrogen (and progesterone to a lesser extent). Estrogen can increase the metabolism of certain AEDs, such as lamotrigine, leading to cyclical variation in its blood level with resultant adverse effect profile or seizure dyscontrol. AEDs and sex hormones can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fracture in WWE. The potential interactions between AEDs and hormonal contraception need to be discussed with all women in reproductive age-group. The alternate options of oral contraception such as intrauterine copper device, intrauterine levonorgestrel release system, and supplementary protection with barriers need to be presented to them. World Health Organization has recommended to avoid combination contraceptive pills containing estrogen and progesteron in women who desire contraception and in breastfeeding mothers. Care providers need to consider the option of non-enzyme-inducing AEDs while initiating long-term treatment in adolescent and young WWE.


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