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Neurology. 2001 Dec 26;57(12):2259-64.

Response to first drug trial predicts outcome in childhood temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Pediatric Regional Epilepsy Program, Division of Neurology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19014, USA.



To construct a clinical prediction model for the early identification of children destined to develop refractory temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) 2 years after epilepsy onset.


Patients with TLE between 1 and 18 years old seen in the Division of Neurology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia during 1999 were identified through billing records and chart review. Data were abstracted independently on 5 candidate predictor variables for refractory TLE and on seizure frequency outcome at 2 years after epilepsy onset.


One hundred twenty patients met inclusion criteria and had at least 2 years of follow-up. Forty-five of 120 patients (37.5%) had refractory TLE at 2 years after onset, and 75 of 120 (62.5%) were seizure free. Three significant predictors of refractory TLE were found on bivariate analysis: an early risk factor for epilepsy (risk ratio = 3.5 [95% CI 2.2, 5.6]), temporal lobe abnormality on MRI scan (2.9 [95% CI 1.9, 4.6]), and failure of the first antiepileptic drug (AED) trial (16.5 [95% CI 6.3, 43.9]). Logistic regression indicated that the best model to predict refractory TLE contained only the variable "failure of first AED trial," with a positive predictive value of 0.89 (95% CI 0.76, 0.96) and negative predictive value of 0.95 (95% CI 0.87, 0.99) to predict "refractory TLE" at 2 years.


Failure of first AED trial accurately predicts refractory TLE at 2 years after onset, based on retrospective cohort data in children. If verified prospectively and with longer follow-up, this finding should support earlier consideration of surgical options.

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