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Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2011 Jan;14(1):9-11. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.78042.

Treating children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and comorbid epilepsy.

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Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry, India.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of common neurodevelopmental disorder often comorbid with epilepsy. There are no existing guidelines on how to manage these two conditions when they are comorbid. To identify relationship between epilepsy and ADHD and to know role of antiepileptics and safety of stimulant like methylphenidate in such conditions from existing literature, we searched articles published in clinical journals available online between 1990-2010, with these key words in medline:children, epilepsy, seizure, comorbid, ADHD, treatment. Relevant abstracts were further selected for their focus on current topic. Cross references were extracted. Finally relevant articles that included original research articles, reviews and abstracts of non-english literature were used. Children with epilepsy may manifest with symptoms of ADHD. Children with ADHD may develop epilepsy. Some antiepileptics like phenobarbitone, gabapentin, topiramate may not be helpful in controlling behavioral symptoms of ADHD. Stimulants are the main stay of pharmacotherapy for ADHD but there is risk of decreasing seizure threshold in children with comorbid epilepsy especially when their epilepsy is not well controlled. Existing evidence is not in favor of screening children with ADHD for EEG abnormality before starting stimulant therapy.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; epilepsy; treatment

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