19-05-2017 New SUDEP Practice Guidelines For Clinicians and Health Professionals

19 May 2017
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New practice guidelines on Sudden death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) were published recently by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society. The author of the guidelines Dr. Cynthia Harden said it is critical for health professionals to communicate about SUDEP rates and risk factors with people with epilepsy and families and that the guidelines give clarity for the purpose of having these discussions focussing on practical information for reducing risk.

The major risk factor for SUDEP is having tonic-clonic seizures and the SUDEP risk increases as the frequency of seizures increases. 

The guidelines advise that clinicians treating children should advise parents and guardians that in one year SUDEP affects 1 in 4,500 children. Clinicians treating adults should inform them that in a year SUDEP affects 1 in 1,000 adults. According to the guidelines, those with more than 3 seizures per year are at most risk but evidence for risk factors, apart from having tonic-clonic seizures, was low.

For those with ongoing seizures, the guidelines recommend that clinicians continue to actively manage treatment to reduce seizures and risks and that they should advise people that seizure freedom is strongly linked to a lower risk of SUDEP. The guidelines are intended to assist clinicians educate themselves on how to discuss these issues with people with epilepsy and families. Dr. Harden emphasised the role of clinicians informing people with epilepsy and their families about the importance of taking medication on time, not skipping medication, and managing their seizure triggers to try reduce seizures or gain seizure freedom where possible.

More Information:

Article from medical Journal Neurology

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