6. Contraception and Epilepsy

  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. Anne R. Davis and
  2. Kathleen M. Morrell

Published Online: 24 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118531037.ch6

Epilepsy in Women

Epilepsy in Women

How to Cite

Davis, A. R. and Morrell, K. M. (2013) Contraception and Epilepsy, in Epilepsy in Women (eds C. L. Harden, S. V. Thomas and T. Tomson), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118531037.ch6

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. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470672679

Online ISBN: 9781118531037



  • contraception;
  • birth control;
  • epilepsy;
  • antiepileptic drugs;
  • pregnancy


Women with epilepsy benefit from highly effective contraception to prevent exposure to teratogenic antiepileptic drugs and optimize seizure control prior to pregnancy. Through a fictional case study, we examine the particular challenges that make contraception complex, both for women with epilepsy and their healthcare providers. We review available forms of contraception in the USA with special attention to their mechanism of action, reversibility, and associated changes in menstrual patterns. Finally, we make recommendations for highly effective contraception for this case study.