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Specialists warn about dangers of stopping epilepsy treatment without supervision

7 December, 2004

People with
epilepsy who stop taking their medication without medical supervision
are more likely to require emergency treatment and need more visits to
their doctor, according to a new survey of over 200 international
epilepsy specialists.

The research, presented at the annual congress of the American Epilepsy Society
(AES) in New Orleans, showed that almost one third of people with
epilepsy stop taking, or seek to stop taking, their anti-epileptic
drugs (AEDs), with side effects and inadequate seizure control being
blamed as the main reasons.

Reporting the results of the survey, Dr Gunter Krämer, Medical Director of the Swiss Epilepsy Centre described the dangers of stopping AED treatment:

"[It]
is frustrating for physicians and hazardous for patients because it
results in uncontrolled seizures, with all the additional morbidity,
mortality, emergency treatment, and increased costs, that this entails.

"When
selecting an AED, physicians should consider treatments that offer
long-term seizure freedom, with minimal side effects, which will
encourage patients to continue their medication in the long term.'