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Epilepsy medication may become less effective over time - research

21 September, 2006

A critical review by Dr Wolfgang Loscher and Dr Dieter Schmidt suggests that anti-epileptic drug (AED) therapy may become less effective at preventing a patient's seizures over time.

The review, published in the current issue of Epilepsia,
suggests the body's ability to adapt to the presence of foreign bodies
is responsible, rather than patients being naturally resistant to
certain medications.

The
risk of developing a tolerance to AEDs was previously thought to be
small, but Loscher and Schmidt conclude that although it's not a risk
for most people with epilepsy, it could be a significant factor in some
people's treatment.

The
findings conflict with the treatment method many doctors currently use:
increasing AED dosages until the patient's seizures are under control.
Despite spending decades investigating the effects of AEDs, Loscher
believes that AED tolerance is a topic that has yet to be fully
explored.