Use of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy and lactation: Type of information provided by searching Google

Tal Lavi-Blau, Dana Ekstein*, Miri Y. Neufeld, Sara Eyal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surveys among women with epilepsy (WWE) show that they receive their essential pregnancy-related information from many sources, including the internet. Our aim was to assess the types of websites provided by searching Google for the use of four antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) during pregnancy and lactation. The search was performed on 40 computers used by health-care professionals, on 40 computers used by nonhealth-care professionals, and on 5 computers used by WWE in Israel and on 8 computers used by nonhealth-care professionals in the U.S. On each computer, a Google search was conducted for term combinations that included one AED name ("carbamazepine","valproic acid", "lamotrigine", "levetiracetam", or "Keppra") and "Pregnancy", "Lactation", or "Breastfeeding". The top three and top ten websites retrieved in every search were mapped (a total of 45 and 150 websites, respectively, from each computer). Across all searches in English, on both U.S. and Israeli computers, the majority of websites listed among the first three and first ten results were those of independent health portals. The representation of the Epilepsy Foundation website was 10% or less, and only a few results were obtained from the NIH's general public-oriented MedlinePlus. In Hebrew, results included almost exclusively Israeli or Hebrew-translated websites. As in English, results from public-oriented, professionally-written websites in Hebrew accounted for less than 50% of entries. Overall, the availability of readable and high-quality information on AEDs used by pregnant and breastfeeding women is limited. Guiding patients towards accurate web resources can help them navigate among the huge amount of available online information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


FundersFunder number
Hebrew University of Jerusalem


    • Antiepileptic drugs
    • Breastfeeding
    • Internet
    • Lactation
    • Pregnancy


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