A patient suffering from the brain disorder epilepsy is known to undergo recurrent seizures. According to a latest study, women with epilepsy have increased risk of developing infertility. It was noted that women diagnosed with epilepsy probably experienced infertility at more than twice the rate of that found in the general population.

Women taking multiple epilepsy drugs supposedly have greater chances of being infertile than those taking less or no drugs for epilepsy. During the study, 375 Indian women with an average age of 26 years predicting pregnancy were included. The study subjects were followed till they were expecting or for up to 10 years. While a total of 62 percent became pregnant, 38 percent reported infertility. Apparently, the rate of infertility for women in the general population in India is 15 percent. Women consuming three or more drugs for epilepsy appeared 18 times more likely to experience infertility, as compared those who took no epilepsy medications.

Sanjeev Thomas, DM, of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Trivandrum, India and the study author, enlightened, “This may be due to the adverse effects of taking multiple drugs or it could be a more indirect effect because people who are taking multiple drugs are more likely to have severe epilepsy that is difficult to treat.”

Scientists claimed that 7 percent women taking no epilepsy drugs were infertile than 32 percent on epilepsy medication, 41 percent consuming two epilepsy drugs, and 60 percent on three or more epilepsy drugs. Infertility was especially noted in older women and those with less than 10 years of education. The relationship between lower education and infertility was seemingly noted. Almost all pregnancies took place within a period of two years. The drug Phenobarbital may elevate risk of infertility considerably. However, no such trend was possibly gauged with valproate or other drugs.

The study is published in the October 12, 2010, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.