Which seizure-precipitating factors do patients with epilepsy most frequently report?

National Centre for Epilepsy, Sandvika, Norway.
Epilepsy & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.06). 03/2005; 6(1):85-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2004.11.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT When treating patients with epilepsy, dealing with seizure-precipitating factors is a partly neglected and underestimated supplement to more traditional therapies. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of seizure precipitants in a large epilepsy population and to determine which precipitants patients most often reported. Study participants included twins and their family members ascertained from the Norwegian Twin Panel (NTP), the Danish Twin Registry (DTR), and the Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR). One thousand six hundred seventy-seven patients with epilepsy were identified and were asked about seizure precipitants using a closed-ended questionnaire. Fifty-three percent reported at least one seizure-precipitating factor, while 30% claimed to have experienced two or more such factors. Emotional stress, sleep deprivation, and tiredness were the three most frequently reported precipitants. Patients with generalized seizures seemed to be more sensitive to sleep deprivation and flickering light than those with partial seizures, while women with partial seizures appeared to be more prone to seizures during menstruation than women with generalized seizures. Knowledge of seizure precipitants has practical implications, not only in patient treatment and counseling, but also for diagnosis, in that it may be helpful in facilitating the appearance of interictal epileptiform discharges in EEG and ictal EEG recordings.

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