Idiopathic epilepsy patients have higher rate of remission

June 14th, 2010 - 2:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 14 (ANI): Researchers have confirmed that children with idiopathic new-onset epilepsy have a significantly higher rate of remission than those with remote symptomatic epilepsy.

Epilepsy is caused by two or more unprovoked seizures, and the syndromes may be either idiopathic (of unknown cause) or symptomatic of underlying brain damage or disease.

In general, idiopathic forms have a better prognosis in terms of both seizure control and eventual remission than do symptomatic forms.

“Knowledge of the long-term outcome of childhood epilepsy is an important factor in treatment decisions,” explained study leader Ada Geerts.

“The course of epilepsy is in our view important to investigate, because intra- and inter-individual variation may be considerable. Periods of remission and relapse may interchange which may influence our interpretation of the results of prognostic studies, advice to patients, treatment strategies, and timing of referral for surgery,” he added.

Since the long-range course of epilepsy is more difficult to describe, the research team evaluated the course and outcome of childhood-onset epilepsy in 413 children over a 15-year period.

They found that anti-epileptic drugs 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.”

Results of this study are now available online in Epilepsia. (ANI)

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