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Epilepsy in the Elderly: Treatment and Consideration of Comorbid Diseases.

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Published:29th Jun 2019
Author: Lee SK.
Availability: Free full text
Ref.:J Epilepsy Res. 2019;9(1):27-35.

Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder affecting older adults after stroke and dementia, and the incidence of epilepsy is increasing rapidly in this population. A further increase in the incidence and prevalence of epilepsy is expected in aging societies. The establishment of a correct differential diagnosis between epilepsy and other seizure disorders that are common in the elderly is crucial. The symptoms of seizures in the elderly may be different from those in younger populations.

The diagnosis is difficult, probably because of nonspecific characteristics, short-term symptoms, and absence of witnesses. There are three important issues in the treatment of epilepsy in the elderly: changes in pharmacokinetic parameters, polytherapy (including non-antiepileptic and antiepileptic drugs), and susceptibility to adverse drug effects. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) with fewer adverse effects, including cognitive effects, and AEDs without significant pharmacokinetic drug interactions are needed. Several studies found that stroke was strongly associated with a high incidence of early seizures and epilepsy. Stroke is also one of the major causes of status epilepticus. Cortical involvement and large lesions are strongly associated with the development of seizures and epilepsy. The severity of the initial neurological deficit is a strong clinical predictor of seizures after ischemic stroke. The optimal quality of life of dementia patients cannot be achieved without a proper diagnosis of coexisting epilepsy.


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