November 12, 2020

Study Highlights the Treatment Burden in Children With Epilepsy and Comorbidities

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy Research

Objective: We conducted a long-term follow-up of a cohort of children with newly diagnosed unprovoked seizures to assess treatment with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), neuroleptics, antidepressants and medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with special attention to the impact of comorbidities on the use of such medication.

Methods: Our study cohort comprised 769 children (28 days-18 years), living in Stockholm Sweden, with a first unprovoked seizure identified between 2001 and 2006. Information on neurodevelopmental comorbidities and Cerebral Palsy (CP) at seizure onset was collected from medical records. Information on treatment with AEDs, neuroleptics, antidepressants and ADHD medication was retrieved by linkage to the Swedish National Prescription Registry between 2005 and 2014. The association between comorbidities and drug treatments was assessed by odds ratios (OR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI), adjusted for age and sex.

Results: Eight years after the index seizure, 31 % of the children were on AEDs, and this was more common among children with any of the comorbidities studied (OR; 4.0 95 % CI 2.9-5.6) compared to those without such comorbidities, and within this group of comorbidities particularly for those with CP (OR; 5.2 95 % CI: 2.9-9.3). Children with neurodevelopmental comorbidity or CP at baseline were more likely to receive neuroleptics (ORs 8 years after the index seizure; 6.9, 95 % CI: 2.4-19.8), antidepressants (OR; 2.3, 95 % CI: 1.0-5.5) and ADHD medication (OR; 3.6, 95 % CI: 1.8-7.2) than children without the studied comorbidities.

Conclusion: Children with seizures in combination with neurodevelopmental comorbidities or cerebral palsy (CP), especially CP, have a more frequent use of antiepileptic drugs, neuroleptics, antidepressants, and ADHD medication up to 13 years following the initial seizure than children without comorbidity. Our data highlight the treatment burden in children with epilepsy and comorbidities.