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J Child Neurol. 2008 May;23(5):507-14. doi: 10.1177/0883073807309785. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

Evidence-based versus reported epilepsy management practices.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Epidemiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.


Evidence-based medicine practices are widely touted in medicine, although their adoption by busy practitioners is problematic and cumbersome. In this study, we examined published evidence underpinning 2 relevant clinical management questions in pediatric epilepsy: when to initiate an antiepileptic drug and when to prescribe the ketogenic diet. We surveyed practicing child neurologists who were attending their national meeting to determine whether their current practices aligned with the evidence. Clinical studies were evaluated using the Oxford Scale, which was adopted by the American Academy of Neurology. In addition, using a novel rating approach, we examined the impact on overall recommendations by scoring results from studies refuting a given practice. The data show that child neurologists' attitudes firmly adhere to evidence-based practice on when to initiate treatment with an antiepileptic drug, but not on when to prescribe the ketogenic diet. It seems clear that important differences in attitudes of practitioners toward different management strategies for epilepsy cannot be explained only by differences in the evidence. Safety and efficacy data suggest that the ketogenic diet should be more widely adopted as a management strategy in pediatric epilepsy.

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