Medication adherence in women with epilepsy who are planning pregnancy

Lia de Leon Ernst, Cynthia L. Harden, Page B. Pennell, Nichelle Llewellyn, Connie Lau, Sarah Barnard, Eyal Bartfeld, Jacqueline A. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examines medication adherence among women with epilepsy via use of an electronic diary, as part of a prospective multicenter observational study designed to evaluate fertility in women with epilepsy (WWE) versus age-matched controls. Methods: WWE and healthy age-matched controls, seeking pregnancy, were given an iPod Touch using a customized mobile application (the WEPOD App) for daily data tracking. Eighty-six WWE tracked seizures and antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Tracking of nonepilepsy medications was optional. Diary data were counted from enrollment date until date of delivery, or up to 12 months if pregnancy was not achieved. Each day that subjects reported missing one or more AED was counted as nonadherence. Because adherence can only be determined in women who track consistently, we elected to include adherence data only for women who tracked >80% of days in the study. Results: Approximately 75% of WWE tracked >80% of days and were included in medication adherence data analysis. In this group, medication adherence rate was 97.71%; 44% of women admitted to missing an AED on at least 1 day. Among the subgroup of WWE who recorded nonepilepsy medications, AED adherence rate was 98.56%, versus 93.91% for non-AEDs. Significance: The 75% compliance rate with an electronic diary suggests that it may be useful to track medication adherence in future studies and in the clinical setting. In those who tracked, the observed medication adherence rate was considerably higher than the 75% adherence rate seen in previous epilepsy studies. This might be explained in part by selection bias, but may also result from properties of the diary itself (daily reminders, real time feedback given to the provider). Women reported a higher rate of adherence to AEDs than to other prescribed medications and supplements, suggesting that perceived importance of medications likely influences medication adherence, and warrants future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2039-2044
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Electronic diary
  • Epilepsy
  • Medication adherence
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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