Seizure facilitating activity of the oral contraceptive ethinyl estradiol. Academic Article uri icon


  • Contraceptive management is critical in women with epilepsy. Although oral contraceptives (OCs) are widely used by many women with epilepsy, little is known about their impact on epileptic seizures and epileptogenesis. Ethinyl estradiol (EE) is the primary component of OC pills. In this study, we investigated the pharmacological effect of EE on epileptogenesis and kindled seizures in female mice using the hippocampus kindling model. Animals were stimulated daily with or without EE until generalized stage 5 seizures were elicited. EE treatment significantly accelerated the rate of epileptogenesis. In acute studies, EE caused a significant decrease in the afterdischarge threshold and increased the incidence and severity of seizures in fully-kindled mice. In chronic studies, EE treatment caused a greater susceptibility to kindled seizures. Collectively, these results are consistent with moderate proconvulsant-like activity of EE. Such excitatory effects may affect seizure risk in women with epilepsy taking OC pills.

published proceedings

  • Epilepsy Res

altmetric score

  • 50.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Younus, I., & Reddy, D. S.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Younus, Iyan||Reddy, Doodipala Samba

publication date

  • March 2016