12. Mechanisms of Teratogenic Effects of AEDs

  1. Cynthia L. Harden MD Professor of Neurology2,
  2. Sanjeev V. Thomas MD, DM Professor of Neurology3 and
  3. Torbjörn Tomson MD, PhD Professor of Neurology and Epileptology4
  1. Lynsey E. Bruce,
  2. Ana M. Palacios,
  3. Bogdan J. Wlodarczyk and
  4. Richard H. Finnell

Published Online: 24 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118531037.ch12

Epilepsy in Women

Epilepsy in Women

How to Cite

Bruce, L. E., Palacios, A. M., Wlodarczyk, B. J. and Finnell, R. H. (2013) Mechanisms of Teratogenic Effects of AEDs, in Epilepsy in Women (eds C. L. Harden, S. V. Thomas and T. Tomson), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118531037.ch12

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Chief, Division of Epilepsy and Electroencephalography, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Cushing Neuroscience Institutes, Brain and Spine Specialists, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, New York, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Neurology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Kerala State, India

  3. 4

    Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Author Information

  1. Dell Pediatric Research Institute, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 11 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470672679

Online ISBN: 9781118531037



  • epilepsy;
  • pregnancy;
  • antiepileptic drugs;
  • teratogenicity;
  • mechanism


Despite the fact that second-generation antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are already in use, much remains unknown with respect to the mechanisms underlying the teratogenicity of even first-generation AEDs. While many studies have targeted specific mechanisms as potential targets, including epoxidation, oxidative stress, altered folate metabolism, and histone deacetylase inhibition, just how the teratogenicity of these drugs is exerted remains largely unknown. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that many of the newer AEDs have very limited published information available regarding their effects and mechanisms of action. Based on the limited information available, physicians must make informed decisions on the best way to manage pregnant epileptic women without putting the developing embryo at increased risk.