Epileptics who don’t take their medicines at higher death risk

June 19th, 2008 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 19 (IANS) Epileptics who don’t take their seizure medication regularly are three times more likely to die, according to a new study. Researchers came to this conclusion after examining insurance records from three US Medicaid programmes over eight-and-a-half years. The records were of 33,658 epileptics who have at least two drug prescriptions.

The study found that those who took their medication less than 80 percent of the time over three months appeared to be three times more likely to die compared to people who took medication regularly.

The study showed that hospital visits went up by 86 percent and emergency room visits increased by 50 percent during the time when people did not take their medication regularly.

There also appeared to be a significantly higher incidence of car accidents and bone fractures. Only head injuries were less common during periods of non-compliance with epilepsy drugs.

“These results are of concern since some studies show about 30 to 50 percent of people with epilepsy do not take their medication regularly,” said study author Edward Faught of the University of Alabama.

“There are many reasons epileptic patients fail to take their seizure medications - including cost, side-effects and pregnancy. But this study suggests that none of those reasons overshadow the threat of death or other problems related to uncontrolled seizures,” he noted.

The findings of the study were published Wednesday in the online issue of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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