Gender issues in antiepileptic drug treatment

Emilio Perucca, Dina Battino, Torbjörn Tomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this review is to discuss gender-related aspects in the, pharmacokinetics, effects, selection and use of antiepileptic drugs (AED). In general, there are few known gender related differences in pharmacokinetics or efficacy of AEDs. Conversely, gender has a significant influence on the susceptibility to certain adverse effects, not the least those involving alterations in sex hormone metabolism. Particularly relevant are the teratogenic effects of AEDs, with important differences among AEDs in their potential to cause adverse effects on the fetus when used during pregnancy. Pregnancy can also markedly affect the pharmacokinetics of several AEDs, and dose adjustments are often needed during pregnancy to maintain seizure control. Some treatments that are used only by women, such as contraceptive steroids and hormone replacement therapy, can also interact with AEDs to an extent that may affect the utilization of both the AEDs and the other drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue numberPB
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Epilepsy
  • Gender
  • Menopause
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Medicine(all)


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