Prognosis of chronic and newly diagnosed epilepsy: revisiting temporal aspects

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Purpose of review

The purpose is to review recent papers on the prognosis of epilepsy, with an emphasis on the importance of considering the temporal aspects of epilepsy.

Recent findings

The review considers five specific points: What is the chance of spontaneous remission without treatment (i.e. what is the natural history of untreated epilepsy)? What is the prognosis of epilepsy in newly diagnosed patients and how effective is therapy in previously drug-naïve patients? Does delaying treatment make long-term prognosis worse? Is the prognosis of chronic established epilepsy inevitably bad? Refractory epilepsy, pharmaco-resistance and the influence of time.


This paper reviews the recent evidence that has provided data about temporal aspects of prognosis in epilepsy and confirms the importance of taking a synoptical view of prognosis, incorporating temporal aspects, in making clinical prognostic predictions.

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