HCPLive Network

National Epilepsy Awareness Month

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month (NEAM), which was established to “highlight the growing need for awareness about epilepsy” as a way to help “dispel myths about epilepsy, teach proper seizure first aid and improve the quality of life for all individuals, families, and friends with epilepsy.” Epilepsy.com Editor-in-Chief Robert Fisher, MD, PhD, wrote in the November newsletter that epilepsy “remains the most prevalent serious disorder that is able to affect people across the full spectrum of ages.”

People who have seizures not only experience pre- and post-seizure symptoms, they become afraid and embarrassed should they have a seizure in public. In a November 2000 issue of Epilepsy & Behavior, more than 1,000 epilepsy patients were asked what the worst thing is about having epilepsy, and the number-one answer was fear—fear of dying, losing their job, or having a seizure while driving—followed by humiliation. It doesn’t help that many neurologists will not prescribe generic versions of the more than 20 AEDs (if they’ve received FDA approval), because there may be a risk that their patients could have a “breakthrough” seizure due to “the disparity between how AEDs work and the FDA requirements for generic equivalents”; the FDA “allows for significant differences between [brand-name] and generic drugs.” This is where the cost of medication comes into play, as there are many patients who cannot afford the high cost of brand-name drugs.

The above are just some of the reasons why the results from a CDC study released in August requires attention, covered in a previous MDNGLive article.

Because there are so many epilepsy patients who are under-treated, programs like NEAM and The Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project are essential.

“Misconceptions about epilepsy are widespread,” says Rosemarie Kobau, a behavioral scientist with the CDC’s Epilepsy Program, co-author of the study. “Until there’s better understanding—among physicians and the public alike—there’s unlikely to be much progress made.”


Related Article on HCPLive:

Black Box Warnings: 11 AEDs Are Evaluated

Additional Resource:

American Academy of Neurology Position Statement of the Coverage of Anticonvulsant Drugs for the Treatment of Epilepsy



Further Reading
There has been a lot of press about The Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project (EPGP), the largest epilepsy study in history.
Who would have thought a video game console featuring games with flashing lights could help treat children with epilepsy?
Lately there has been a lot of research discussing the problem of neuro-infections and how they can lead to people to have seizures I was fortunate enough to talk with Samuel Wiebe, MD, director of the University of Calgary Epilepsy Program and chair of the North American Commission of International League Against Epilepsy, about this topic.
This symposium focused on monotherapy, polytherapy, and new AEDs on the horizon. The presenters explained that although monotherapy fails in approximately 50% of patients with seizure disorders or epilepsy, there are other alternatives.
A collection of resources for you, and your patients, focused on epilepsy.
Check out this collection of information on patient education and medical websites focused on epilepsy.
Online resources for your and your patients, all focused on epilepsy.
More Reading