Epilepsy in adults

Elson L. So, J. Kiffin Penry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The past decade has seen advances in the management of patients with epilepsy. The development of practical long‐term electroencephalographic techniques, with or without simultaneous video recording, has increased the accuracy of diagnosis of seizure types. The technique also provides clinicians and investigators with a method for establishing the clinical efficacy of antiepileptic drugs and determining their therapeutic serum concentrations. Computerized tomography has enhanced the identification of structural brain lesions. Most of the reported CT abnormalities consist of diffuse and focal atrophies, mild ventricular dilatations, and porencephalies. CT has detected tumors in 8 to 10% of the patients regardless of age or type of seizure involved. New concepts of antiepileptic drug therapy have developed from the recognition of pharmacological properties peculiar to each agent. Determination of serum antiepileptic drug levels has to be utilized to reduce the problem of pharmacokinetic variability from one patient to another and in the same patient at different times, so that dosage can be individualized to achieve maximum therapeutic effects with least toxicity. Review of the literature on pregnancy in epileptic women shows that a third to half experienced more seizures during gestation. Reduced serum levels of most antiepileptic drugs have recently been observed during gestation. Infants of epileptic women taking antiepileptic drugs have a two to three times greater risk for congenital anomalies than infants of nonepileptic women. However, with the exception of oxazolidinediones, evidennce to date has not proved the teratogenicity of antiepileptic drugs. The role of genetic factors and the effect of seizures during pregnancy have not been determined. Modest progress has been made in epilepsy rehabilitation, but serious problems still remain. The unemployment rate of persons with epilepsy is twice the national average. Half of those who are successfully employed did not disclose their disorder at the time of employment. Several prognostic indicators have been reported, but the validity of many of these indicators is questionable. For example, does shorter life expectancy apply to all subgroups, or does it vary according to seizure type and cause? The life expectancy, treatment response, and proability of remission in epileptic persons must be reevaluated after consistent applications of current methods of epilepsy management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Epilepsy in adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this