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Study confirms favorable long-term prognosis of epilepsy
Date:6/14/2010

15-year period.

The study commenced in 1988 with the team evaluating 494 children (aged 1 month to 16 years) who were newly diagnosed with epilepsy. The patients were followed for 5 years, and then contacted again by questionnaire 10 years later. A total of 413 responses were received. The mean age at onset of epilepsy was 5.5 years, and the mean age at last contact was 20.8 years. Etiology was idiopathic in 50.8%, remote symptomatic in 27.8%, and cryptogenic in 21.3%. The mean follow up was 14.8 years.

Two hundred ninety-three of 413 subjects (70.9%) had a terminal remission of at least 5 years at the end of the study (61.9% off antiepileptic drugs [AEDs]; 9.0% on AEDs). In contrast, epilepsy remained active in 30% of patients and became intractable in 10%, with the majority of those with active epilepsy or intractability having a non-idiopathic etiology. In patients with a favorable course, idiopathic etiology was predominant, and the mean longest remission during the first 5 years of follow-up was significantly higher than in all other groups. The researchers concluded that AEDs probably do not influence epilepsy course - they merely suppress seizures. Mortality was significantly higher only in those with remote symptomatic etiology.

Geerts concluded, "The long-term prognosis of epilepsy is favorable in the majority of children, especially for those with idiopathic etiology. It remains to be seen whether such a course is influenced by the treatment given, since childhood-onset epilepsy is often a benign self-limiting disorder and treatment proved to be ineffective in those with active epilepsy or intractability."


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Contact: Dawn Peters
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Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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