Progesterone Therapy for Women with Epilepsy Shows Favorable Outcome
December 3, 2011
Women of childbearing age with epilepsy commonly have seizures that are exacerbated by hormonal changes. Investigators today reported favorable outcomes of a phase III clinical trial of progesterone therapy in reducing these catamenial seizures. Results of the NIH-sponsored study were presented during the American Epilepsy Society's annual meeting.
Progesterone is a naturally occuring steroid known to lessen neuronal excitability and seizures. The purpose of the clinical trial was to compare progesterone versus placebo in lessening seizures in women with epilepsy.
"We found that progesterone can provide a clinically important benefit for a substantial portion of women with catamenial seizures," said lead investigator, Andrew G. Herzog, M.D., M.Sc., of Harvard University. "And, the level of perimenstrual seizure exacerbation is a significant predictor of women most likely to benefit from this hormonal therapy."
The proportion of women who responded to pregesterone therapy increased relative to the increased level of perimentrual seizure exacerbation; whereas, no significant difference in response rate was observed in women with seizures that did not show substantial perimenstrual exacerbation, i.e., three times or greater increase in average daily frequency.
The clinical trials were conducted at the Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston; Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia; University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine; and the University of Maryland, Department of Neurology.