Antiepileptic drug polytherapy in pregnant women with epilepsy

F. J.E. Vajda, T. J. O’Brien, J. E. Graham, A. A. Hitchcock, C. M. Lander, M. J. Eadie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To study seizure control and rates of foetal malformation in pregnancies of women with epilepsy treated with antiepileptic drug polytherapy. Methods: The use of conventional statistical methods to analyse the Australian Pregnancy Register records of 1810 pregnancies in women with epilepsy, 508 treated with antiepileptic drug polytherapy. Results: Polytherapy-treated pregnancies were less often seizure free than monotherapy-treated ones, for both focal (36.0% vs 51.9%: P <.05) and primary generalized epilepsies (41.1% vs 69.3%; P <.05). Drug combinations with dissimilar and similar mechanisms of action achieved similar rates of seizure freedom during pregnancy (36.3% vs 38.3%). The increased rate of malformed foetuses in polytherapy pregnancies depended on valproate or topiramate being in the drug combinations. The combinations of lamotrigine and levetiracetam offered the chance of seizure control and foetal safety. Conclusions: In pregnancy, the use of antiepileptic drug combinations is not necessarily disadvantageous to mother and foetus if valproate and topiramate are avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • antiepileptic drugs
  • malformations
  • polytherapy
  • seizure control

Cite this