Adhering to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) improves seizure control but can also enhance quality of life and sexual functioning in women with epilepsy, according to a study published in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior.“Healthcare providers should be aware of these additional benefits of medication adherence and use these arguments to encourage female patients to take their medication, which can eventually increase their sexual satisfaction and overall [quality of life],” wrote Dr Chung-Ying Lin and the co-authors of the study.The team assessed quality of life and sexual functioning in 576 Iranian women with epilepsy using the Quality of Life in Epilepsy questionnaire and the Female Sexual Function Index respectively. They also measured epilepsy severity using the Liverpool Seizure Severity Scale and medication adherence both subjectively (using the Medication Adherence Report Scale) and objectively (by measuring drugs levels in the participants’ blood).The results showed a positive correlation between scores from the Medical Adherence Report Scale and those from the Quality of Life in Epilepsy questionnaire. In other words, greater adherence with medication was associated with improved quality of life. Medication adherence scores were also correlated with overall sexual functioning, and, in turn, improved sexual functioning was associated with improvements in quality of life.The researchers recognised that there is a complex relationship between medication adherence, seizure control, quality of life, and sexual functioning. Nevertheless, their results indicate that the benefits of AED adherence extend beyond reduction of seizures into other aspects of well-being.Sexuality is an important component of quality of life. It is estimated that around 20-30% of women with epilepsy experience some form of sexual dysfunction such as decreased sex drive or problems with arousal and infrequent orgasms. Factors that may influence sexual functioning in epilepsy include anxiety, stigmatization, and epileptic activity in the brain.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about anti-epileptic drugs and pregnancy risks.