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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Survey suggests epilepsy treatment "puts limits on lifestyles"

16 December, 2004

A new study shows
that amongst people taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), nearly half
have side effects from their medication that they consider severe
enough to limit their ability to perform daily activities.

Researchers
surveyed 367 adults with epilepsy who were taking one or more AED and
46 per cent said they experienced side effects from their medication. A
majority of those who reported side effects said fogginess or lack of
clear headedness (77 per cent), sleepiness (63 per cent) and dizziness (60 per cent) limit their ability to perform daily activities.

Fifty-one
per cent of those surveyed said they were prevented by their epilepsy
from participating in at least one routine activity as much as they
would like, including driving (37 per cent), working (34 per cent),
exercising or playing sports (25 per cent) and travelling (21 per
cent). The research also found that following diagnosis, people with
epilepsy and their health care providers often focus mainly on seizure
control - less than half of people surveyed (47 per cent) said their
health care provider addressed how epilepsy treatment may impact on
their current lifestyle.

Dr Kevan VanLandingham, associate clinical professor of neurology at Duke University Medical Center, commented:

"The
challenges faced by people with epilepsy include maintaining a 'normal'
lifestyle, one in which they can perform activities most people
consider 'routine'. Patients may want to talk to their physicians about
re-examining their current treatment if they are not living the life
they want as a result of their epilepsy or epilepsy treatment. Patients
may also wish to share their personal experiences with epilepsy, such
as frequency of seizures, side effects or problems complying with
medication, in order to ensure the right treatment for them."