19-05-2009 | First Irish epilepsy prevalence data launched

'19-05-2009 | First Irish epilepsy prevalence data launched' image

The Prevalence of Epilepsy in Ireland Report, launched on May 19th by Brainwave The Irish Epilepsy Association reveals that there are up to 37,000 people with epilepsy in Ireland and that this number may be increasing.

The study was commissioned by Brainwave and conducted by the UCD Centre for Disability Studies. It is the first national epilepsy prevalence study undertaken anywhere in Europe and identifies for the first time, accurate figures on the number of people with epilepsy in Ireland.

It was launched in Dublin as part of National Epilepsy Week 2009.

The study confirms that epilepsy is the most common serious neurological condition presenting in Ireland today.

Among its key findings are:

A summary of the report can be downloaded below.

Five separate sources of nationwide data were examined as part of the study: Prescription drug data, Self Report data gathered from the CSO's Quarterly National Household Survey, GP data, Specialist Care data and data from the Irish Hospital Inpatient Enquiry System.

The data also shows that the rate of treated epilepsy for those aged 5 years and above varies considerably by region. The lowest rates were observed in the Eastern Region (7.9 cases per 1,000 people in 2005) while the Western Region had the highest rates (10.8 cases per 1,000 people in 2005). The condition was also found to be more prevalent as age increases and is slightly more commonly observed in men.

Brainwave believes that the level of agreement observed across all five sources of data provides a comprehensive assessment of the prevalence of epilepsy in Ireland and the findings are broadly reflective of data coming from international studies.

The data will be of critical importance in planning current and future epilepsy service needs to ensure appropriate treatment is offered to those who need it.