Uncertainties from a worldwide survey on antiepileptic drug withdrawal after seizure remission

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BackgroundWe sought to determine differences in practice for discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) after seizure remission and stimulate the planning and conduction of withdrawal trials.MethodsWe utilized a worldwide electronic survey that included questions about AED discontinuation for 3 paradigmatic cases in remission: (1) focal epilepsy of unknown etiology, (2) temporal lobe epilepsy after surgery, and (3) juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. We analyzed 466 complete questionnaires from 53 countries, including the United States. Statistical analysis included χ2 and multivariate logistic regression.ResultsCase 1: responders in practice for <10 years were less likely to taper AEDs: odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) 0.52 (0.32–0.85), p = 0.02. The likelihood of stopping AEDs was higher among doctors treating children: OR (95% CI): 11.41 (2.51–40.13), p = 0.002. Doctors treating children were also more likely to stop after 2 years or less of remission: OR (95% CI): 6.91 (2.62–19.31), p = 0.002, and the same was observed for US physicians: OR (95% CI): 1.61 (1.01–2.57), p = 0.0049. Case 2: responders treating children were more likely to taper after 1 year or less of postoperative remission, with the goal of discontinuing all medications: OR (95% CI): 1.91 (1.09–3.12), p = 0.015, and so were US-based responders: OR (95% CI): 1.73 (1.21–2.41), p = 0.003. Case 3: epileptologists were less likely to withdraw the medication: OR (95% CI): 0.56 (0.39–0.82), p = 0.003, and so were those in practice for 10 or more years: OR (95% CI): 0.54 (0.31–0.95), p = 0.025.ConclusionsWe observed several differences in practice for AED withdrawal after seizure remission that highlight global uncertainty. Trials of AED discontinuation are needed to provide evidence-based guidance.

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