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Prognosis Favorable for Most Children With Epilepsy

Follow-up study finds 70.9 percent experience remission; 9 percent are intractable

MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- About seven in 10 children who develop epilepsy experience terminal remission, while the condition becomes intractable in only about one in 10, according to a study published online June 14 in Epilepsia.

Ada Geerts, of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues followed a cohort of children from an earlier epilepsy study from initial onset in 1988 to 1992 for a mean of 14.8 years. A questionnaire was sent to 453 subjects to determine the course and outcome of their condition.

Among the 413 respondents, the researchers found that 70.9 percent had a terminal remission interval of at least five years by the end of follow-up. A favorable course was reported by 48.4 percent and an improving course by 29.1 percent. A poor course was reported by 9.9 percent of subjects, and 6.1 percent reported a deteriorating course. Eighteen of the subjects died. Eighty-six percent of the subjects used antiepileptic drugs during a mean 7.4 years -- a third had their last seizure within a year of treatment, and another third continued treatment at the end of follow-up. Nine percent of the cohort was intractable at the researchers' last contact with them.

"In most children with newly diagnosed epilepsy, the long-term prognosis of epilepsy is favorable, and in particular, patients with idiopathic etiology will eventually reach remission. In contrast, epilepsy remains active in approximately 30 percent and becomes intractable in approximately 10 percent. Antiepileptic drugs probably do not influence epilepsy course; they merely suppress seizures," the authors write.

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