Discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs after successful epilepsy surgery

Yitzhak Schiller, Gregory D. Cascino, Elson L. So, Richard W. Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the frequency and risk factors for seizure recurrence subsequent to antiepileptic drug (AED) withdrawal in patients who underwent surgical treatment for intractable partial epilepsy and were rendered seizure-free. Methods: The outcome of discontinuation of AED medication was studied retrospectively in 210 consecutive patients who were rendered seizure-free after epilepsy surgery performed between 1989 and 1993. Results: Medica therapy was reduced in 96 patients and discontinued in 84 patients. The seizure recurrence rate after complete AED withdrawal was 14% and 36% at 2 and 5 years. In contrast, only 3% and 7% of the 30 patients who did not alter AED treatment after surgery had recurrent seizures in the same time intervals. After AED discontinuation, seizures tended to recur more often in patients with normal preoperative MRI studies compared with those with focal pathology. However, this difference did not reach significance. Intraoperative electrocorticography, extent of surgical resection, postoperative EEG, and seizure-free duration after surgery were not predictive of seizure outcome after AED withdrawal. Conclusions: AED withdrawal was associated with seizure recurrence in a significant portion of patients rendered seizure-free by epilepsy surgery. Patients with a normal preoperative MRI study showed a tendency for higher seizure recurrence, whereas the duration of seizure-free postoperative AED treatment interval did not significantly influence the seizure recurrence rate. These results will prove useful in counseling patients about discontinuing AED treatment after successful epilepsy surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-349
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 25 2000


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Drug withdrawal
  • Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Seizure recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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