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Keywords:

  • antiepileptic drugs;
  • epilepsy;
  • malformations;
  • pregnancy;
  • seizures

Abstract

Background:  Prospective studies are needed to assess the maternal and fetal hazards of antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy in pregnancy.

Aims:  To make the Australian Register of AEDs in Pregnancy better known to the Australian obstetric community by presenting results derived from it.

Methods:  Analysis of data collected by the Register between 1999 and December 2006.

Results:  The Register contained data on 1002 epileptic or AED-treated pregnancies, 992 with known outcomes, 83 not exposed to AEDs in at least their first trimester, and 30 prescribed AEDs for indications other than epilepsy. Statistically significant findings included more frequent folate supplementation and decreased alcohol intake during pregnancy in women with epilepsy; a dose-related increased risk of fetal malformation associated with valproate therapy; a tendency towards lower birthweights in live-born malformed offspring; and a substantially reduced decreased risk of seizures in pregnancy with one year seizure freedom before pregnancy. The small numbers of patients may have prevented other differences from reaching a P < 0.05 value.

Conclusions:  The Register has already produced important information for the management of pregnant women with epilepsy in Australia, but greater rates of recruitment into the Register are desirable to allow it to achieve its full potential.