Trends and patterns of antiseizure medication prescribing during pregnancy between 1995 and 2018 in the United Kingdom: A cohort study

Paul Madley-Dowd, Jessica Rast, Viktor H. Ahlqvist, Caichen Zhong, Florence Z. Martin, Neil M. Davies, Kristen Lyall, Craig Newschaffer, Torbjörn Tomson, Cecilia Magnusson, Dheeraj Rai, Brian K. Lee, Harriet Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine antiseizure medication (ASM) prescription during pregnancy. Design: Population-based drug utilisation study. Setting: UK primary and secondary care data, 1995–2018, from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD version. Population or Sample: 752 112 completed pregnancies among women registered for a minimum of 12 months with an ‘up to standard’ general practice prior to the estimated start of pregnancy and for the duration of their pregnancy. Methods: We described ASM prescription across the study period, overall and by ASM indication, examined patterns of prescription during pregnancy including continuous prescription and discontinuation, and used logistic regression to investigate factors associated with those ASM prescription patterns. Main Outcome Measures: Prescription of ASMs during pregnancy and discontinuation of ASMs before and during pregnancy. Results: ASM prescription during pregnancy increased from 0.6% of pregnancies in 1995 to 1.6% in 2018, driven largely by an increase in women with indications other than epilepsy. Epilepsy was an indication for 62.5% of pregnancies with an ASM prescription and non-epilepsy indications were present for 66.6%. Continuous prescription of ASMs during pregnancy was more common in women with epilepsy (64.3%) than in women with other indications (25.3%). Switching ASMs was infrequent (0.8% of ASM users). Factors associated with discontinuation included age ≥35, higher social deprivation, more frequent contact with the GP and being prescribed antidepressants or antipsychotics. Conclusions: ASM prescription during pregnancy increased between 1995 and 2018 in the UK. Patterns of prescription around the pregnancy period vary by indication and are associated with several maternal characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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