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CNS Spectr. 2000 Apr;5(4 Suppl 2):1-8.

New developments in the treatment of epilepsy.

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Division of Child Neurology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.


Epilepsy is a medical disorder that presents with single or clustered seizures. There are several new drugs that effectively treat epilepsy with few side effects, and treatments of children, women, and the elderly are discussed. In the special population of children, there is a strong emphasis on the cognitive and behavioral benefits of specific therapies. In the population of epileptic women, seizures most often occur at the start of puberty and menarche, and worsen periodically with each menstrual cycle. Relief of symptoms often occurs at menopause, but a possibility of exacerbation also exists. Women with epilepsy often battle a fear of becoming pregnant. This is a fallacy which must be widely dispelled, as the risk is less than supposed. Among the elderly, epilepsy often presents after trauma, particularly stroke, and the incidence is three times greater for those over 60 years of age than the general population. Due to various conditions specific to the elderly, misdiagnosis is common. The greatest challenge in treating the elderly is adverse side effects.


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