More MS news articles for Jan 2002

Anticonvulsants and drugs for neurological disease

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol 2001 Dec;15(6):863-76
Lowe SA.
Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney, Australia

The use of anticonvulsant drugs in pregnancy presents unique challenges to clinicians and their patients.

The need for control of maternal epilepsy must be balanced with the fetal and neonatal risks associated with anticonvulsant drugs.

Anticonvulsant drugs may have potential effects on embryogenesis, neurological development, growth and subsequent paediatric progress.

Drug selection and dose adjustment must be appropriate and based on a combination of known maternal and fetal risks as well as the clinical status of the patient.

Overall, no one drug can be specifically recommended but monotherapy with most of the recognized first-line drugs will result in a satisfactory outcome.

Polytherapy is associated with an increase in congenital malformations and should be avoided if possible.

It is possible that newer second-line agents, for example, gabapentin, may be safer as add-on therapy.

Neurological disorders such as migraine, and the less common conditions of myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis, may require the use of drugs which have not been well studied in pregnancy.

Information is provided about the use of drugs to control symptoms and prevent disease progression in these disorders during pregnancy.

Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.