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Neurology. 2007 Apr 10;68(15):1188-96.

Quality of life outcomes of immediate or delayed treatment of early epilepsy and single seizures.

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  • 1Division of Public Health, University of Liverpool, The Quadrangle, Liverpool, UK.



To compare the impact of policies of immediate vs deferred treatment in patients with few or infrequent seizures on quality of life (QoL) outcomes.


We conducted a multicenter, randomized, unblinded study of immediate and deferred treatment. QoL data were collected by mail, using validated measures, for participants living in the UK and without major learning disability. Baseline questionnaires were returned by 441 adult patients; 333 returned 2-year follow-up questionnaires. This analysis is based on 331 patients (162 randomized to immediate, 169 to deferred treatment) returning both baseline and 2-year questionnaires.


There were no significant differences at 2 years in QoL outcomes by treatment group. Patients randomized to deferred treatment were no more likely to report impairments in general health, cognitive function, psychological well-being, or social function. The one area of functioning affected was driving, where those randomized to deferred treatment were disadvantaged. There were clear QoL impacts both of taking antiepileptic drugs and, to an even greater extent, of continuing seizures.


In treatment uncertain patients, there is a clear trade-off between adverse effects of seizures and adverse effects of taking antiepileptic drugs, i.e., neither policy examined in our study was associated with overall quality of life gains or losses longer term.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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