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Author Notes:

Corresponding author. Address: Department of Neurology, Emory University, Woodruff Memorial Research Building, 101 Woodruff Circle, Suite 6000, Mail Stop 1930-001-1AN, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Fax: +1 404 727 3157. kimford.meador@emory.edu (K.J. Meador)

See Appendix for affiliations of the NEAD Study Group.


Research Funding:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke : NINDS

This study was supported by Grants 2 RO1 NS038455 from the NIH/NINDS, 1 R01050659 from the NIH/NINDS, and RB219738 from the UK Epilepsy Research Foundation.


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Epilepsy
  • Women
  • Pregnancy
  • Teratogenesis
  • Drug choice
  • Prescription practices

Antiepileptic drug use in women of childbearing age

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Journal Title:

Epilepsy and Behavior


Volume 15, Number 3


, Pages 339-343

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Research on antiepileptic drug (AED) teratogenesis has demonstrated an increased risk for valproate. The impact of these findings on current AED prescribing patterns for women of childbearing age with epilepsy is uncertain. The Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) Study is an ongoing prospective multicenter observational investigation that enrolled pregnant women with epilepsy on the most common AED monotherapies from October 1999 to February 2004 (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, valproate, and phenytoin). A 2007 survey of AED use in women of childbearing age at eight NEAD centers found a total of 932 women of childbearing age with epilepsy (6% taking no AED, 53% monotherapy, 41% polytherapy). The most common monotherapies were lamotrigine or levetiracetam. Since 2004, prescriptions of carbamazepine, phenytoin, and valproate have decreased, whereas those for levetiracetam have increased. Except for the top two AED monotherapies, there were marked differences in other monotherapies and in polytherapies between U.S. and UK centers. Future investigations are needed to examine reasons for drug choice.

Copyright information:

© 2009 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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