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Epilepsy Patients Caught in Treatment Gap and Not Getting State-of-the-Art Care
Date:12/4/2009

consensus definition represents, for the first time, a common language in recognizing refractory epilepsy that can be applied by clinicians at all healthcare levels," Kwan says. "We believe its general adoption into clinical practice can have a significant impact in improving patient care by providing clinicians a framework to recognize and refer patients fulfilling the definition to specialist centers promptly for further assessment and management. Perhaps equally important, it will improve the interpretation of research results, which, in itself, can help in raising the level of epilepsy care."

The new definition is but one of many measures focused on the healthcare community that is needed to assure patients get state-of-the-art care. Beyond this there is much that people with epilepsy themselves can do to improve the care they receive, according to Mr. Hargis. "Many patients feel that what they experience from epilepsy and its treatment is 'as-good-as-it-gets'. A perception they may get from healthcare providers. Programs are needed to inform patients that there are solutions to their feelings of depression and the treatment of side effects they experience. And, one of the keys is better communication with their doctors."

A number of recent studies, including research supported by the Epilepsy Foundation, have found that mood disorders and drug toxicity affect quality of life of patients, more than the frequency or severity of their seizures. "Educational programs are needed that encourage healthcare providers to question patents and to offer appropriate remedial options for reducing co-morbidities and the impact of the disorder itself," Hargis says.

The heavy toll that undiagnosed, untreated and sub-optimally treated epilepsy imposes on the millions of people with epilepsy in the U.S. and around the globe has led the World Health Organization to raise the international campaign against the disorder to the highest leve
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SOURCE American Epilepsy Society
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