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Poor People With Epilepsy More Prone to Uncontrolled Seizures

Drug side effects, ER visits also more frequent than in more affluent people with the disorder, study finds

WEDNESDAY, March 2, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Epilepsy patients who are poor are more likely to have uncontrolled seizures, drug-related side effects, and a lower overall quality of life compared to those with more money, finds a new study.

Poor patients also visit hospital emergency departments more often and have more appointments with a general practitioner, according to lead author Dr. Charles E. Begley, professor of management and health sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and colleagues.

The study included 566 adults epilepsy patients treated at three clinics in Houston and New York City that serve poor people and a clinic in Houston that serves those who are more affluent.

During the one-year study period, poor patients were 2.2 to 3.9 times more likely to have uncontrolled seizures and 4.9 to 16.3 times more likely to experience side effects from the anti-epileptic drugs.

"Future research needs to examine specific site-related factors that may be associated with these disparities in care for individuals with epilepsy," concluded Begley and colleagues in a news release from Wiley-Blackwell, publishers of the journal Epilepsia, which released the study in February.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about epilepsy.

SOURCE: Epilepsia, news release, February 2011
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