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Leading Epilepsy Advocates Propose Strategies to Heighten Treatment Expectations and Close Patient and Physician Communication Gaps
Date:3/28/2008

National survey reveals room for improvement in balancing seizure control

and medication-related side effects

WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of the nation's largest event dedicated to the epilepsy community, the National Walk for Epilepsy, advocates today announced their recommendations in response to a new national survey uncovering key challenges facing the epilepsy community. Challenges include gaps in patient-physician communication around medication-related side effects and low public awareness of epilepsy.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080328/CLF099)

According to the survey, sponsored by ORTHO-McNEIL NEUROLOGICS(R), Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 75 percent of epilepsy patients experience medication-related side effects and for the majority, these impact their daily lives, including 57 percent who say work or school are affected. A disconnect exists between patients and healthcare professionals surrounding their discussions on these side effects. While 98 percent of physicians report discussing medication-related side effects with patients, less than half (47 percent) of epilepsy patients report these discussions take place. And, more than one-quarter of patients report they sometimes feel reluctant to broach this topic during office visits. Not surprisingly, healthcare professionals underestimate the number of patients experiencing medication-related side effects, estimating this figure at just 43 percent. The most common side effects according to the survey are fatigue, poor memory, weight gain or weight loss and loss of concentration.

"These findings suggest treatment expectations among epilepsy patients are simply too low. According to the survey, 61 percent of people with epilepsy believe that side effects are just something they have to live with," said roundtable
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SOURCE ORTHO-McNEIL NEUROLOGICS
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