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07-10-2014 | Positive Outcomes for Difficult to Control Epilepsy

07 October 2014
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A new study has highlighted the potentially positive outcomes that people with difficult to control epilepsy can achieve even after being rejected for surgical treatment.

Carried out at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel, the research looked at the outcomes of patients rejected from focal resective surgery due to medical reasons, or who simply chose not to undergo it.

It examined 52 patients who continued solely on antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy and 35 patients who additionally underwent VNS implantation, finding a significant improvement in seizure frequency between the time of the presurgical evaluation and the time of the interview in both groups.

Moreover, 17 per cent of the medically-treated subjects and six per cent of those who also underwent VNS implantation reported being seizure-free during the preceding three months.

The study concluded: "A considerable minority of patients with refractory epilepsy who were rejected or chose not to undergo epilepsy surgery may improve over time and even become seizure-free following adjustment of AEDs, with or without concomitant VNS."

Around one-third of patients do not respond to treatment with AEDs, with surgery being one of the key alternative choices for this group. However, more options are required for those who do not benefit from either approach.

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