Infants born to epileptic women treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have an increased risk of major congenital malformations (MCMs). In order to determine the role of maternal epilepsy we conducted a prospective cohort study on three cohorts of pregnant women: (i) 385 epileptic women treated with AEDs, (ii) 310 non-epileptic women treated with AEDs, (iii) 867 healthy women not exposed to AEDs (control group). The rate of MCMs in the epileptic group (7.7%) was not statistically higher than in the non-epileptic one (3.9%) (p=0.068). The rate in the first group was higher compared to the control group (p=0.001), while the rate in the second one was not (p=0.534). Our data confirm that AEDs therapy is the main cause of the increased risk of malformations in the offspring of epileptic women; however a teratogenic role of the maternal epilepsy itself cannot be excluded.
- antiepileptic drugs