May 7, 2020

How Often Do Doctors Discuss Drug Withdrawal with their Seizure-Free Patients with Epilepsy?

Among patients with epilepsy, almost 70% become seizure-free with the current antiseizure drugs (ASDs) within 20 years following seizure onset. Of those who have been seizure-free for many years, around 70% remain seizure-free after withdrawal of ASDs.

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which seizure-free patients with epilepsy in Norway discuss drug discontinuation with their physician.

An online questionnaire was used; among the respondents were 186 adult patients who had been seizure-free for at least five years and were still using ASDs. Of these, 60 patients (32%) reported that they had discussed the question of drug withdrawal with their treating physician. Those patients who reported being involved in treatment decisions were more likely to have discussed ASD withdrawal.

In conclusion, it is the research team’s opinion that discontinuation of drug treatment in patients with long-term seizure freedom is discussed far too seldom and that many patients may be living with an unnecessary drug burden.

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