Determining when to stop antiepileptic drug treatment

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Abstract

Purpose of review

As the number of patients diagnosed with epilepsy continues to rise and the pharmacological and device-based treatment options for epilepsy increase, determining when to stop antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment continues to be an important issue for patient management and counseling.

Recent findings

This review focuses on outcomes following AED withdrawal in seizure-free adults with epilepsy. Practical considerations are also discussed because, despite the importance of this topic, relatively little progress has been made in the past year regarding the identification of patients whose risk for recurrent seizures after AED withdrawal is no higher than that of the general population.

Summary

Although articles in the past year have updated the debates about whether and when to discontinue AEDs in seizure-free adults and have suggested potential utility for electroencephalograms as a prognostic tool for AED reduction as well as for an AED withdrawal risk calculator, decisions about AED withdrawal should still be based on the known risks and consequences of seizure recurrence and be made following well documented discussions between doctor and patient/carer.

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