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J Child Neurol. 1997 Nov;12 Suppl 1:S38-43.

Meeting the challenge of epilepsy in persons with multiple handicaps.

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Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, USA.


Epilepsy occurs in more than 30% of persons with mental retardation and up to 50% of those with multiple handicaps living in institutional settings. Treatment of epilepsy in this population presents many unique challenges. Through careful adherence to basic principles of diagnosis, classification, and antiepileptic drug use, as many as 80% of individuals can be successfully managed with one- or two-drug therapy and enjoy positive outcomes in the areas of community integration and increased independence. Rational polypharmacy with the newer anticonvulsant drugs offers additional opportunity for improving outcomes for these individuals, especially with the use of felbamate and lamotrigine, where broad-spectrum efficacy and positive impact on psychosocial functioning is being demonstrated. Further systematic study of new drugs in this population is clearly warranted.

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