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Keywords:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome;
  • Polycystic ovary morphology;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Antiepileptic drugs;
  • Menstruation

Summary: Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) remains a controversial issue in women with epilepsy. The syndrome is characterized by clinical signs of endocrine dysfunction, such as irregular menstruation, hirsutism, and infertility, but its pathogenesis and presentation are heterogeneous. There are few data on the relationship between epilepsy and PCOS. Studies by a Finnish group have raised the issue of an association between valproate (VPA) and PCOS in young women with epilepsy. These studies, however, were retrospective, laid emphasis on polycystic ovary morphology rather than on clinical endocrine dysfunction, and were undertaken in selected populations. Further studies, both in Italy and Germany, failed to replicate the findings of the Finnish group. Future research should ideally be prospective and include baseline data in untreated women. No compelling data lead to a specific contraindication of the use of VPA in young women, and the drug remains a first-line treatment option.