August 23, 2022

Mortality Rates Higher Among Veterans With Drug Resistant Epilepsy, Prompting Need for Improved Management

Article published by NeurologyLive

According to data from an observational cohort study, US veterans with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) have higher rates of mortality than the general population, prompting the critical need for appropriate management of DRE in this population. Although used sparingly, those who did utilize comprehensive epilepsy care and diagnostic services had reduced mortality.

The standardized mortality rate (SMR) for individuals with DRE compared with the general US population data was 1.50 (95% CI, 1.47-1.53), with female individuals having higher mortality (1.94; 95% CI, 1.75-2.13) than male individuals (1.49; 95% CI, 1.46-1.52). Furthermore, the SMR for individuals with DRE compared with a cohort of all veterans in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) data was found to be even higher, at 1.56 (95% CI, 1.53-1.59; males: 1.55 [95% CI, 1.47-1.53]; females: 1.93 [95% CI, 1.53-1.59]).

“This excess mortality risk can potentially be assuaged by appropriate referrals for comprehensive evaluation, adequate diagnostic testing, and optimal medication management. Adequate resources should be allocated to care for this vulnerable patient group,” lead investigator Zulfi Haneef, MD, MBBS, associate professor, Baylor College of Medicine, and colleagues wrote.