Effects of antiepileptic drugs on hormones

Epilepsia. 1991;32 Suppl 6:S60-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1991.tb05894.x.


A hormone is an intrinsic substance carried via the blood to a target organ which is then functionally stimulated. Similar to extrinsically administered medications, the metabolism and function of the hormones may be altered by antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). The proposed mechanisms are (a) enhanced metabolism (natural steroids, synthetic steroids, e.g., decadron and birth control pills, thyroxine, and vitamin D3), (b) altered protein bonding (thyroxine, sex hormones), (c) impaired release into the systemic circulation (calcitonin, insulin, vitamin K clotting factors) and (d) altered end-organ effect. The AEDs most likely to interact with hormones are barbiturates, carbamazepine, and phenytoin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology*
  • Carrier Proteins / blood
  • Carrier Proteins / pharmacology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / pharmacology
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Hormones / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pituitary Hormones, Anterior / blood
  • Pituitary Hormones, Anterior / pharmacology
  • Steroids / blood
  • Steroids / pharmacology
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood
  • Thyroid Hormones / pharmacology


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Hormones
  • Pituitary Hormones, Anterior
  • Steroids
  • Thyroid Hormones