Drug treatment of epilepsy in adults.
Authors: Schmidt D, Schachter SC
Epilepsy is a serious, potentially life shortening brain disorder, the symptoms of which can be successfully treated in most patients with one or more antiepileptic drug. About two in three adults with new onset epilepsy will achieve lasting seizure remission on or off these drugs, although around half will experience mild to moderately severe adverse effects. Patients with epilepsy, especially the 20-30% whose seizures are not fully controlled with available drugs (drug resistant epilepsy), have a significantly increased risk of death, as well as psychiatric and somatic comorbidities, and adverse effects from antiepileptic drugs. Newer drugs have brought more treatment options, and some such as levetiracetam cause fewer drug interactions and less hypersensitivity than older ones. However, they do not reduce the prevalence of drug resistant epilepsy or prevent the development of epilepsy in patients at high risk, such as those with a traumatic brain injury. The development of antiepileptic drugs urgently needs to be revitalized so that we can discover more effective antiseizure drugs for the treatment of drug resistant epilepsy, including catastrophic forms. Antiepileptogenic agents to prevent epilepsy before the first seizure in at risk patients and disease modifying agents to control ongoing severe epilepsy associated with progressive underlying disease are also needed.
PMID: 24583319 [PubMed - in process]