The progestin-containing intrauterine device, also known as the coil, is a safe and well-tolerated form of contraception for women with epilepsy, according to a study published in the scientific journal, Epilepsia.“Although popular among all women, complex drug interactions limit the efficacy and safety of oral contraceptives for [women with epilepsy],” the authors write.They add: “Effective contraception enables women with epilepsy to plan their pregnancies and improve outcomes for themselves and their children.”For the study, a team of researchers led by Dr Alison Pack, from Columbia University Medical Center, analysed 20 women with well-controlled epilepsy, who were on a stable antiepileptic drug (AED) regime. The AED most frequently taken amongst the group was lamotrigine. The average age of the women was 28, and 60% of them had not been pregnant before. All had experienced multiple seizures in the past.The researchers measured the lowest (or ‘trough’) concentration of AED in the blood of the women before insertion of the coil, and again three weeks, three months and six months after. They did this because, for seizure control and AED safety to be maintained, it is important the level doesn’t change significantly.The results showed that the lowest concentration of AED in the blood of the women remained stable during the six months following insertion of the coil.The researchers also asked the women to record their seizures in a daily diary. They then compared the seizures that occurred during the month before insertion of the coil with those occurring in the six month following insertion.During the month prior to insertion of the coil, 75% of the women did not have any seizures, whilst the remaining 25% had between one and three seizures.After insertion of the coil, seizure frequency increased in three women, remained unchanged in 13 women and decreased in four women. Interestingly, none of the women said they felt a decrease in seizure control as a result of the coil.The authors report that all participants were either “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the coil, and that all participants continued to use it six months after insertion. They also confirm that no pregnancies occurred during the study.These results suggest that the coil is an acceptable form of contraception for women with epilepsy.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.