Research Shows Seizure Trends in Women with Epilepsy
December 3, 2011
In women of childbearing age with epilepsy, seizures may be exacerbated either during menstruation or during ovulation. Investigators in a specialized epilepsy center have analyzed the data on a group of patients with seizures associated with their menstrual cycles (catamenial seizures) for type of epilepsy, seizure frequency, response to medication, neuroimaging findings and seizures during pregnancy. Results of the study at the University of California, Irvine, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, were presented today at the American Epilepsy Society's 65th annual meeting in Baltimore.
The investigators found that two-thirds of women with catamenial epilepsy had a diagnosis of partial epilepsy, while the remaining one-third had primary generalized epilepsy. Nearly three-quarters had medically refractory seizures, a rate twice that of female epilepsy patients the same age who do not have catamenial seizures.
During the study, the women, ranging in age from 19 to 50, filled out a standard questionnaire that included questions regarding significant exacerbation of seizures associated with their menstrual cycle. The patients' responses, together with their monthly seizure calendar, were used to identify women with catamenial seizures.
Authors of the study, Mona Sazgar and Avriel Linane, reported that, "Women with catamenial epilepsy in our tertiary care study group had a much higher rate of medically refractory and lesional epilepsy compared with the general epilepsy population. A greater percentage of the catamenial epilepsy patients had primary generalized epilepsy compared with what we could expect to see in the general population. A high percentage of our catamenial epilepsy patients who had children reported having more seizures during their pregnancy."