Intrauterine growth in the offspring of epileptic women: A prospective multicenter study

D. Battino, S. Kaneko, E. Andermann, G. Avanzini, M. P. Canevini, R. Canger, D. Croci, C. Fumarola, L. Guidolin, D. Mamoli, F. Molteni, G. Pardi, A. Vignoli, Y. Fukushima, R. Kan, A. Takeda, Y. Nakane, Y. Ogawa, L. Dansky, M. OguniI. Lopez-Ciendas, A. Sherwin, F. Andermann, M. H. Seni, K. Otani, T. Teranishi, M. Goto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the risk of intrauterine growth delay in the offspring of epileptic mothers and to quantify the risks of intrauterine exposure to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Data concerning 870 newborns, prospectively collected in Canada, Japan and Italy, using the same study design, were pooled and analyzed. The overall proportion of newborns whose body weight (7.8%) or head circumference (11.1%) at birth were below the 10th percentile was not increased. However, logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of small head circumference was significantly higher in Italian than in Japanese (RR 4.2; 95% CI: 2.2-8.0) or Canadian children (RR 2.6; 95% CI: 1.1-6.5), and in children exposed to polytherapy (RR 2.7; 95% CI: 1.2-6.3), phenobarbital (PB) (RR 3.6; 95% CI: 1.4-9.4) and primidone (PRM) (RR 4.5; 95% CI: 1.5-13.8). Country was also the only factor affecting low body weight, with Italian children having a higher risk than Japanese (RR 5.2; 95% CI: 2.6-10.4) or Canadian (RR 8.8; 95% CI: 2.0-38.1) children. Due to the small categories, the influence of AED doses and plasma concentrations was studied for each individual AED, without adjustment for the other potential confounding factors. A clear dose-dependent effect was found for PB and PRM in terms of both small head circumference and low body weight, and a concentration-dependent effect for PB in terms of small head circumferences. The size of the difference between the Italian and the other two populations, which is only partially explained by differences in therapeutic regimens, suggests that genetic, environmental and ethnic factors also need to be taken into account when considering possible explanations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Epilepsy
  • Head circumference
  • Intrauterine growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology


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