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Seizure. 1997 Feb;6(1):27-30.

Managing the teenager with epilepsy: paediatric to adult care.

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Roald Dahl EEG Unit, Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital (Alder Hey), UK.


Epilepsy starting in childhood frequently persists through adolescence and into adult life, and an onset in adolescence itself is common. The management of the teenager with epilepsy is important but often inadequate. In 1991, a specific clinic for teenagers with epilepsy was established in Liverpool to address the unique needs and concerns of this age group and, importantly, to facilitate a smooth hand-over of specialist epilepsy care from paediatric to adult services. An additional and crucial benefit of this clinic has been to provide a further, and hopefully final, screen to confirm (or refute) the diagnosis of epilepsy, to corroborate, or correctly identify, the specific epilepsy syndrome and to ensure that the most appropriate antiepileptic drug (AED) is being prescribed and when, if possible, the drug can be withdrawn. Of 120 consecutive patients referred to the teenager clinic, 12 (10%) did not have epilepsy, and 26 (22%) were being treated with an inappropriate AED. The main issues and concerns voiced by the teenagers included choices of further education and career, the possibility and risks of withdrawing anticonvulsants, driving regulations, the inheritance of epilepsy and pregnancy/contraception. This teenager clinic could serve as a model for both other 'epilepsy centres' and also for managing other chronic disorders with an onset in childhood.

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