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Arroyo, Santiago; Brodie, Martin J; Avanzini, Giuliano; Baumgartner, Christoph; Chiron, Catherine; Dulac, Olivier; French, Jacqueline A; Serratosa, Jose M
"Is refractory epilepsy preventable?"
Epilepsia 2002 Apr; 43(4):437-444
About a third of the patients diagnosed with epilepsy will not be fully controlled with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), and many of them will have frequent and disabling seizures. These patients will undergo multiple drug trials, most often without complete seizure remission. Moreover, refractory epilepsy is associated with increased morbidity (from seizures and medications), social isolation, unemployment, and overall reduced quality of life. There is evidence that refractory epilepsy can be a progressive disorder, which, if controlled early, might never develop into a full syndrome with all of its associated sequelae. The difficulty lies in identifying at an early stage patients who are likely to progress to intractability. No currently known markers enable clinicians to make this identification with confidence. Advances in pharmacogenomics and our understanding of pharmacologic responsiveness in epilepsy may change this situation. Even now, we are able to identify many patients with a poor prognosis earlier than before, particularly in the pediatric population, in which syndromic classification may provide an approach to predict intractability. The early initiation of aggressive therapy may improve outcome and overall quality of life

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