ABSTRACT

Objective

To determine the current risks of infertility and impaired fecundity as well as the live birth/pregnancy ratio among women with epilepsy (WWE) in the USA and whether antiepileptic drug (AED) use is a factor.

Methods

These retrospective survey data come from the 2010‐2014 Epilepsy Birth Control Registry (EBCR) Web‐based survey of 1000 WWE in the USA, aged 18‐47 years, who provided demographic, epilepsy, AED, reproductive, and contraceptive data. We report risks of infertility and impaired fecundity, live birth/pregnancy ratio, and whether outcomes differ by AED use or category versus No AED.

Results

A total of 978 of the 1000 USA WWE reported reproductive data; 373 WWE had 724 pregnancies and 445 births. An additional 38 WWE (9.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 6.7‐12.4%) tried to conceive but were infertile. A total of 72.5% had a live birth outcome for their first pregnancy, 89.0% had at least one live birth for their first two pregnancies, and 61.6% had two live births for their first two pregnancies. Eighty‐four of 406 WWE (20.7%, 95% CI = 17.0‐2.9%) had impaired fecundity. The risk of impaired fecundity trended higher on AED polytherapy than on No AED (risk ratio [RR] = 1.79, 95% CI = 0.94‐3.11, = .08). The ratio of live birth/unaborted pregnancy (445/594, 74.9%) was similar among WWE on No AED (71.3%), AED monotherapy (71.8%), and polytherapy (69.7%). None of the AED categories differed significantly from No AED. Note that glucuronidated AED (lamotrigine), which had the highest ratio of live birth/pregnancy (89.1%), compared favorably to enzyme‐inhibiting AED (valproate), which had the lowest (63.3%; RR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.05‐1.88, = .02).

Significance

The EBCR finds 9.2% infertility risk and 20.7% impaired fecundity risk among WWE in the USA. Impaired fecundity trended higher on AED polytherapy than on No AED. Live birth/pregnancy ratio was higher with the use of lamotrigine than valproate. These findings may provide WWE a more objective basis for pregnancy planning.

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