Management of Childhood Epilepsy

Continuum (Minneapolis, Minn.) 06/2013; 19(3 Epilepsy):656-81. DOI: 10.1212/01.CON.0000431381.29308.85
Source: PubMed


Purpose of review:
This article outlines a diagnostic and management approach to pediatric seizures and epilepsy syndromes, and delineates pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment options.

Recent findings:
Progress in tracking of seizures, identifying and addressing medication nonadherence, treatment with novel devices, and clinical decision support algorithms will provide additional management options in the future.

The management of pediatric seizures and epilepsies presents multiple challenges to the clinician because of nonepileptic imitators, evolving classification approaches, clinical presentations, limited clinical trial data for medications, and the toxicities of therapies. While certain pediatric seizures and epilepsy syndromes respond best to certain medications, early identification of pharmacologically resistant patients who may be candidates for epilepsy surgery is important. Alternative treatment options may include ketogenic diet or vagus nerve stimulation.

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    ABSTRACT: Examine the possible association between long-term seizure outcome in childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) and the initial treatment choice. Children with CAE were prospectively recruited at initial diagnosis and followed in a community-based cohort study. Children presenting with convulsive seizures, significant imaging abnormalities, or who were followed <5 years were excluded. Early outcomes included success of initial medication, early remission, and pharmacoresistance. The primary long-term outcome was complete remission: ≥5 years both seizure free and medication free. Survival methods were used for analyses. The first medication was ethosuximde (ESM) in 41 (69%) and valproic acid (VPA) in 18 (31%). Initial success rates were 59% (ESM) and 56% (VPA). Early remission and pharmacoresistance were similar in each group. Apart from atypical electroencephalography (EEG) features (61% [VPA], 17% [ESM]), no clinical features varied substantially between the treatment groups. Complete remission occurred in 31 children (76%) treated with ESM and 7 (39%) who received VPA (p = 0.007). Children with versus without atypical EEG features were less likely to enter complete remission (50% vs. 71%, p = 0.03). In a Cox regression, ESM was associated with a higher rate of complete remission than VPA (hazards ratio [HR] 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-6.0; p = 0.03). Atypical EEG features did not independently predict outcome (p = 0.15). Five-year and 10-year remission, regardless of continued treatment, occurred more often in children initially treated with ESM versus VPA. These findings are congruent with results of studies in genetic absence models in rats and provide preliminary evidence motivating a hypothesis regarding potential disease-modifying effects of ESM in CAE.
    Epilepsia 02/2014; 55(4). DOI:10.1111/epi.12551 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives Children with severe chronic epilepsy are living longer, and they eventually transition to the adult health care system. Additional research is required to better define the population that is being transferred and the qualifications of those who are assuming their care. We aimed to evaluate the complexity of epilepsy patients transitioning between tertiary centers, and to evaluate neurologists' confidence in dealing with childhood-onset epilepsies.Methods Patients aged from 18 to 25 years were divided into two groups: Group 1 comprised patients referred from the pediatric tertiary center; and Group 2 comprised patients referred from the community. Clinical data were retrospectively studied and groups were compared using appropriate statistics. We also created a survey to evaluate neurologists' levels of confidence in diagnosing and treating childhood-onset epilepsies. Differences among responders were compared.ResultsGroup 1 comprised 170 patients, whereas group 2 had 132. Patients in group 1 had earlier seizure onset, longer epilepsy duration (p < 0.001), and more patients with symptomatic etiologies, epileptic encephalopathy, and cognitive delay (p < 0.001). Group 1 patients required more referrals to other specialties (p = 0.001). Treatment with polytherapy (p = 0.003), epilepsy surgery (p < 0.001), ketogenic diet (p < 0.001), and vagus nerve stimulator were more common in group 1 (p < 0.001). In addition, our survey applied to adult (n = 86) and pediatric (n = 29) neurologists indicated that adult neurologists have lower levels of confidence in diagnosing and treating severe forms of childhood-onset epilepsies (p < 0.001), as well as epilepsy associated with cognitive delay (p < 0.001).SignificanceThese findings suggest that patients from tertiary centers present more complex health care needs and require more resources than age-matched patients from the community; and that adult neurologists may not feel prepared to diagnose and treat adult patients with some childhood-onset epilepsies.
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