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Epilepsy and Women’s health

Epilepsy and Women’s health

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Epilepsy and Women’s health

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  1. Epilepsy and Women’s health OlgicaLaban-Grant, MD Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group NEREG 2011

  2. Epilepsy in Women • Role of hormones in epilepsy • Contraception and AED’s • Pregnancy and epilepsy • Postpartum period and epilepsy • Bone health and epilepsy • Epilepsy in adolescence • Epilepsy in menopause

  3. Epilepsy in WomenHormones and Seizures Female hormones change the excitability of the brain and alter the threshold for seizures Estrogen –decreases threshold Porgesteron- increases threshold

  4. Hormon sensitive seizuresCatamenial epilepsy In 1/3 of female patients there is substantial relationship between seizures and menstrual cycle.

  5. Catamenial Epilepsy Seizures that tend to cluster in relationship to menstrual periods • High levels of estrogen • Low levels of progesterone • Fluid and electrolyte imbalance • Psychological Stress • Decrease in levels of AEDs

  6. Epilepsy in Women Catamenial Epilepsy

  7. Catamenial epilepsy Pattern 1 – just before menstruation (steep decline in progesterone) Pattern 2 – just before ovulation ~day 14 (steep elevation in estrogen)

  8. Catamenial epilepsy • Pattern 3- in second half of menstrual cycle • Anovulatory cycles (ovulation does not occur) are more frequent in women with epilepsy • There is no elevation of progesterone

  9. Catamenial epilepsy What should you do: Keep diary of your seizures and menstrual periods Discuss with your neurologist possibility of catamenial epilepsy

  10. Management of Catamenial Seizures • Your doctor may treat you with • Increase in doses of antiseizure medications during particular time of menstrual cycle • Supplementation with reproductive hormones-natural progesterone

  11. Management of catamenial epilepsy • Cyclic • Natural progesterone seems to work better • Suppressive • Depo-provera

  12. Birth control and epilepsy Some of the antiseizure medication decrease efficacy of birth control pills and other hormonal birth control This may result in birth control failure and unplanned pregnancy

  13. Birth control pills and epilepsy • Antiseizure medications that interfere with birth control are: • Carbamazepine (Tegretol) • Phenobarbital • Phenytoin (Dilantin) • Primidone • Rufinamide (Banzel) • Topiramate (Topamax) *higher doses • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) *higher doses

  14. Contraception • AED’s that have no influence on levels of steroids • Gabapentin (Neurontin) • Lamotrigine (Lamictal) • Levetiracetam (Keppra) • Tiagabine (Gabatril) • Zonisamide (Zonegran) • Pregabalin (Lyrica)

  15. Lamictal Does not lower efficacy of oral birth control pills, but oral birth control pill can decrease levels of Lamictal

  16. Contraception • Solutions: • Using antiseizure medications that do not interact with birth control pills • Using alternative birth control methods • Using birth control pills with higher dose of estrogen

  17. Contraception • OCP with higher doses of estrogen (50 micrograms) • Depo-Provera - more frequent (6-8 weeks) • If breakthrough bleeding • Increase dose of estrogen • add barrier method • Condoms • Cervical diaphragm or cervical cap • Spermacides

  18. Fertility and Epilepsy Women with epilepsy have fewer children • Possible explanations: • Choice (fear of having child with birth defect) • Sexual dysfunction • Women with epilepsy have more frequent anovulatory cycles (cycles where there is no egg released from ovary) • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

  19. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and epilepsy • Definition of syndrome– two out of three of following: • Multiple cysts in ovaries • High male hormone levels • Excessive facial hair and acne • Other features • Obesity • Irregular menstrual periods • More frequent anovulatory cycles

  20. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and epilepsy • Syndrome is twice as common in women with epilepsy Possible explanations: • Seizure activity in brain alters the production of hormones • Valproic acid (depakote) causes features similar to PCOS

  21. Epilepsy and Pregnancy Over 90% of babies born to women with epilepsy will be healthy. This number may be higher if pregnancies are planned. Although low, birth defect rate is still about twice (4-7%) of rate in general population (1.6-3.2%).

  22. Epilepsy in Women Pregnancy Higher risk is due to: Seizures Antiseizure medications Genetic

  23. Epilepsy in Women Pregnancy • Plan pregnancy! • May need to change AED drug/dosage • Folic Acid: start before pregnant • Close supervision with neurologist • High-risk pregnancy OB is preferred

  24. Seizures in Pregnancy What can you do about seizures: Women who have better control of seizures prior to pregnancy usually have fewer seizures during pregnancy.

  25. AED’s in pregnancy • More birth defects with: • Polypharmacy (two or more AED’s) • Higher levels of medications

  26. AED’s in pregnancy What can you do about antiseizure medications: Your neurologist/epileptologist will consider: Reducing your medications to single medication (monotherapy) Changing your medication Decreasing dose of your medication Stopping your medication

  27. Epilepsy & PregnancyAED National Pregnancy Registry • Tracks use of AEDs and pregnancy outcomes • All information confidential • Can greatly improve our knowledge

  28. Epilepsy in WomenPregnancy Registry Resources North American Pregnancy Registry 888 – 233 - 2334

  29. Epilepsy and PregnancyFetal Risks • Most common major malformations: • Neural tube defects • Heart abnormalities • Orofacial clefts

  30. Folic acid • Folic deficiency is associated with increase risk of neural tube defects. • Aed’s that are linked to folic acid malabsorbtion/metabolism are • Phentoin (Dilantin) • Carbamazepine (Tegretol) • Barbiturates • Valproate (Depakote)

  31. Prenatal care Take extra folic acid (1-4mg per day) while trying to conceive Take prenatal vitamins while trying to conceive. Discuss possibility of genetic counseling, especially if there is history of birth defects in family.

  32. Epilepsy in Women Prenatal Testing • Testing that may be done to detect some of birth defects: • Maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein at 15-22 weeks of gestation • Level II ultrasound (structural) at 16-20 weeks of gestation • Amniocentesis at 15-20 weeks of pregnancy

  33. Epilepsy in womenPregnancy

  34. Epilepsy in WomenPostpartum issues • AED levels may rise – close monitoring of levels is necessary • Sleep deprivation and stress may increase frequency of seizures • Child safety/lifestyle adaptation

  35. Epilepsy in WomenBreastfeeding Benefits of breastfeeding are felt to outweigh potential risk of continued exposure of neonate and infant to AEDs (AAN and AAP) • Protein bound drugs have low concentrations in breast milk • Observe breastfeeding infant for irritability, poor sleep patterns, or inadequate weight gain

  36. Epilepsy in adolescence • Most seizure disorders are not altered by onset of puberty • Certain types of epilepsy start at approximate age (JME) or improve (benign rolandic epilepsy, absence epilepsy) • Rapid growth may account for poor seizure control

  37. Epilepsy in adolescence • Menarche (first period) • Discuss hormon sensitive seizures • Interactions of AED’s with contraceptive pills • Start folic acid supplementation • Discuss planning of pregnancy

  38. Epilepsy in adolescence • Discuss • Choice of medications • Substance abuse • Sleep deprivation • Compliance to medications • Driving • Sports safety • Choice of profession

  39. Epilepsy and menopause • Premature menopause is more common in WWE • Effect on seizure frequency is unclear as both estrogen and progesterone levels drop • Catamenial epilepsy seems to improve

  40. Epilepsy and menopause • Doses of AED’s may need to be changed due to changes in metabolism • Polypharmacy due to other medical conditions may affect efficacy of AED’s and seizure • Hormone replacement therapy • Bone health

  41. Epilepsy & HRT • HRT increases estrogen levels and may increase seizure frequency – concomitant use of natural progesterone may help • AED’s may affect HRT efficacy

  42. Epilepsy & Bone health • Fractures are more likely in people with epilepsy due to: • Falls due to seizures and due to side effects of AED’s, and • Altered bone density due to certain AED’s

  43. Epilepsy & Bone health • Altered bone density due to AED’s is associated with: • Phenytoin (dilantin) • Carbamazepine (tegretol) • Barbiturates • Valproate (depakote)

  44. Epilepsy & Bone health Prevention and therapy >6mo AEDs -exercise, balanced diet, stop smoking, moderate alcohol, moderate caffeine -calcium and vitamin D supplements -measure Ca, ALP, 25-hydroxy vit D yearly - Baseline DXA scan

  45. Epilepsy & Bone health Refer for possible treatment to endocrinologist if: • osteopenia/osteoporosis • Abnormal calcium or vit D levels • fracture

  46. THANK YOU! Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group epilepsygroup.com