The higher the number of seizures experienced during the first 6 months of epilepsy, the less likely are the chances of remission.
The finding "is of value for the clinician faced with a patient presenting with epilepsy", according to the head of the research team, Dr Simon Shorvon, of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.
The research, published in the December issue of Annals of Neurology, looked at nearly 800 newly diagnosed patients with epilepsy. The number of seizures that a patient experienced during their first 6 months was the strongest clinical factor predicting remission.
In patients who only had 2 seizures in the first half-year, the likelihood of achieving 1 year of remission during the first 6 years after diagnosis was 95 per cent and the likelihood of achieving 5 years of remission was 47 per cent
However, for those who experienced 10 or more seizures during the first 6 months, the corresponding figures were 75 per cent for 1 year of remission and 24 per cent for 5 years of remission.