Use of antiepileptic drugs in women of fertile age

Christine Aarenstrup Daugaard, Yuelian Sun, Julie Werenberg Dreier, Jakob Christensen

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INTRODUCTION: We studied the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in women of fertile age and pregnant women in a 16-year-period in Denmark. METHODS: We included all women of fertile age (age 18-44 years) and pregnant women from 2001 to 2016 identified from Danish registers. RESULTS: The median proportion of women of fertile age who took AEDs increased from 10.7‰ (95% confidence interval (CI): 10.5-10.9‰) in 2001 to 27.1‰ (95% CI: 26.8-27.4‰) in 2016. Lamotrigine, levetiracetam, gabapentin and pregabalin have been increasingly used over time and havebeen the main AEDs used in recent years. The use ofvalproate in women of fertile age decreased slightly from2.1‰ (95% CI: 2.0-2.2‰) to 1.9‰ (95% CI: 1.8-2.0‰), whichwas explained by a decrease in the use after 2014 amongwomen aged 18-24 years. The increased use of AEDs waslikely owed to use for other indications than epilepsy. Theoverall use of AEDs in pregnant women increased from 3.8‰ (95% CI: 3.3-4.3‰) in 2001 to 6.9‰ (95% CI: 6.2-7.6‰) in2016, and the use of valproate decreased from 0.6‰ (95%CI: 0.4-0.8‰) in 2001 and to 0.2‰ (95% CI: 0.1-0.4‰).CONCLUSIONS: The overall use of AEDs in women of fertileage and pregnant women has increased in the past 16years, especially due to an increased use of lamotrigine. However, valproate use in pregnant women and in youngerwomen of fertile age has become less frequent.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5563
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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