Association Between Seizure Onset and Year of Menarche in Women With Epilepsy

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Researchers suggest the combined effects of adrenarche and menarche may play a role in the relationship.
The following article is part of live conference coverage from the 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from AES 2017.

WASHINGTON, DC – There is a significant relationship between the age of seizure onset and the age of menarche in women with epilepsy, according to research presented at the 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, held December 1-5, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Researchers gathered data from a web-based survey from the Epilepsy Birth Control Registry of 1144 women aged 18-47 who provided information on demographics, epilepsy diagnosis, antiepileptic drug use, and reproductive and contraceptive use.

The average age of seizure onset was14.13 years (95% CI, 13.69-14.61). The average age of menarche was 12.55 years (95% CI, 12.45-12.65), which is similar to that of women in the general population (12.54). The mean age of menarche was significantly greater in women with epilepsy who had their age of seizure onset before menarche vs after menarche (12.70 vs 12.42; P =.006). However, the difference was not substantial.

A greater number of women with epilepsy (8.3%) had seizure onset during the year of menarche than during any other year (P <.0001). Regardless of the relationship between the year of menarche and the year of seizure onset, researchers believe that “the identification of a cluster that spans the 2 years before through 6 years after menarche and accounts for 49.3% of seizure onset” suggests an important role between adrenarche and menarche, which increases “the production of neuroactive steroids that modulate neuronal excitability and seizures.”

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Disclosures: The researchers report financial support from the Epilepsy Foundation and Lundbeck.

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MacEachern DB, Husami R, Herzog AG. Does the age of seizure onset relate to menarche? Presented at: 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting. December 1-5, 2017; Washington, DC. Abstract 1.216.