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Postgraduate Research Bursaries 2003-2004

Anti-epileptic drug utilisation study in children and young people

Yingfen Hsia

Postgraduate Medical School, University of Surrey

At present, about 66,500 children in the UK suffer from epilepsy. For various reasons including ethical considerations, drugs companies are reluctant to seek licences for their products in children and adolescents, and clinicians end up prescribes these off-label. There is insufficient information regarding efficacy and safety in this young populations. A survey by using drug safety data in UK showed that of 390 fatal suspected adverse drug reactions in children, 65 concerned anti-epileptic medication.

In addition, a recent national report pointed out that poor epilepsy management results in a substantial number of potentially avoidable deaths in this population. Thus, there is a need to understand how anti-epileptic medication is prescribed in clinical practice and to examine off-label use of anti-epileptic medication in UK primary care.

The aims of this research are to investigate prescription patterns for anti-epileptic drugs, to examine off-label prescribing and to ascertain side effects of anti-epileptic medication.

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