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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Epilepsy organisation calls for doctors to sign "five point plan"

13 October, 2005

The International Bureau for Epilepsy
(IBE) is asking doctors to ensure that people with epilepsy taking
anti-epileptic drugs remain on the same make of drug to lessen the
chance of seizures recurring.

In a letter on its website,
the IBE, an organisation of lay people and professionals interested in
the medical and non-medical aspects of epilepsy, asks doctors to pledge
their support to a five-point plan:

  • "I recognise that continuity of supply is critical for my patients and could impact on their quality of life
  • "I will discuss continuity of supply and its potential impact on quality of life with my patients
  • "I will urge my patients and their families to contact me if their medication is changed by their pharmacist
  • "I will write to pharmacists, if appropriate, about the importance of continuity of supply
  • "If
    I know that my patients' medication has been substituted, I will
    monitor them carefully for changes in control or tolerability."

In
the letter, the IBE claims that many leading experts and epilepsy
organisations in Europe recommend that people with epilepsy continue to
take the same version of their medication, whether it is a brand name
or generic version, to avoid the risk of breakthrough seizures.

The
IBE is recommending that people with epilepsy and their doctors should
only accept a change in their medication following an informed
discussion between doctor and patient. Where patients and doctors agree
that no medication change should take place, the doctor should advise
the pharmacist that no substitution should be made. Without this
clarity, it will be possible for versions of a drug to be switched
without the patient's or doctor's consent.