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J Pediatr. 2012 Apr;160(4):662-666.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.09.054. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

Association of epilepsy and type 1 diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents: is there an increased risk for diabetic ketoacidosis?

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  • 1Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University, Vienna, Austria.



To estimate the prevalence of epilepsy and possible risk factors in children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus.


We conducted an observational cohort study based on the Diabetes Patienten Verlaufsdokumentation database including data from 45 851 patients (52% male) with type 1 diabetes mellitus, age 13.9 ± 4.3 years (mean ± SD) and duration of diabetes mellitus 5.4 ± 4.2 years. The database was searched for the concomitant diagnosis of epilepsy or epileptic convulsions and for antiepileptic medication.


A total of 705 patients with epilepsy were identified, giving a prevalence of 15.5 of 1000. A total of 375 patients were treated with antiepileptic medication, and 330 patients were without anticonvulsive therapy. Patients with epilepsy were younger at onset of diabetes mellitus and shorter than patients without epilepsy, and their weight and body mass index were comparable. No difference could be demonstrated for metabolic control, type of insulin treatment, insulin dose, and prevalence of B-cell specific autoantibodies. The frequency of severe hypoglycemia was lower in patients treated with antiepileptic medication. The risk for diabetic ketoacidosis was almost double in patients with epilepsy compared with patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus alone (P < .01).


Children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus show an increased prevalence of epileptic seizures. For unknown reasons, there is an association between epilepsy and diabetic ketoacidosis in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Copyright © 2012 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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