Changing patterns of antiepileptic drug use in pregnant Australian women

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

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Objective - To trace the pattern of antiepileptic drug (AED) use in pregnant Australian women annually from 1999 to 2007, and correlate it with the pattern of AED use in the wider community. Methods - Analysis of data from the Australian Register of AEDs in Pregnancy, related to Australian population data for AED prescriptions. Results - Over the study period, prescribing of carbamazepine, phenytoin and valproate for pregnant women decreased, and prescribing of lamotrigine, topiramate and levetiracetam increased. These changes tended to parallel prescribing trends in the wider community, except for valproate, whose prescribing in the overall community increased as its prescribing, and its dosage prescribed, decreased in pregnancy. Concomitant with this, there was a trend towards fewer births of foetuses with abnormalities. Conclusions - While otherwise following national AED prescribing trends, Australian prescribers are reducing the use and dose of valproate in pregnant women, likely in recognition of the teratogenic hazards of this drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Pregnancy
  • Usage
  • Valproate

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