anti-epileptic drugsResearchers from the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in India have recently published a study in the journal Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology connecting epilepsy to oxidative stress that could impair fetal development.

Sixty-five women with epilepsy (WWE) were identified for the study. One group was comprised of women who experienced fetal malformation or spontaneous abortion (EN = 43) and another was comprised of women with normal pregnancies and live births with no fetal issues (ENM = 22). A third group of 20 women was collected as the control group. Oxidative stress was measured in each group using blood tests. All women were taking anti-epileptic drugs (AED).

Conclusion: The EN group showed elevated oxidative stress on blood tests compared to the control group and ENM group. Antioxidant reaction was reduced in both active groups, as well. When EN and ENM groups were compared, the EN group measured significantly higher oxidative stress than the ENM group, which could have lead to fetal malformations and negative pregnancy outcomes. Researchers believe increased oxidative stress partnered with AEDs could be a possible contributing factor in pregnancy outcome.

Source: Deepa D, Jayakumari N, Thomas SV. Oxidative stress is increased in women with epilepsy: Is it a potential mechanism of anti-epileptic drug-induced teratogenesis? Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2012 Oct;15(4):281-6. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.104336.