How are absence seizures treated during pregnancy?

Updated: Sep 25, 2018
  • Author: Scott Segan, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Women of childbearing age who are not using adequate birth control should not be treated with valproic acid, if equally effective alternatives are available for them.

If a woman taking valproic acid wishes to become pregnant, treatment may be crossed over to ethosuximide if only absence seizures are present, and she may be given folic acid 1-5 mg/d before conception. After the first trimester, treatment may be switched back to valproic acid.

Women with generalized tonic-clonic seizures may be crossed over to lamotrigine, and given folic acid 1-5 mg/d before conception.

Most clinicians believe that women treated with valproic acid or any hepatic enzyme-inducing AED should be treated with vitamin K before delivery.

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