To investigate the interaction among the efficacy, tolerability and overall effectiveness of the first antiseizure medication in patients 16 years or older with newly diagnosed epilepsy.
Materials and Methods
The study included 584 patients who were referred to the Tampere University Hospital between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2005 and were diagnosed with epilepsy. All individuals were retrospectively followed up until 31 December 2006, until reaching at least one year of seizure freedom, or until death if before the cut-off date.
Overall, after thorough validation of the epilepsy diagnosis 459 patients comprised the study cohort; among these patients, 73% of males and 60% of females became seizure-free for at least one year with the first antiseizure medication. The seizure freedom rate for focal epilepsy was 67%. There was no significant difference in focal epilepsy to achieve seizure freedom between oxcarbazepine, carbamazepine or valproic acid. The seizure freedom rate among patients above 60 years of age was 67%. For patients with structural and unknown aetiology, seizure freedom rates were 61.5% and 75.3%, respectively. Additionally, epileptiform activity on EEG in patients with focal epilepsy decreased odds of seizure freedom in adjusted logistic regression models (OR 0.55, p=0.036).
This study provides a more positive prediction of seizure freedom compared with previous studies with the onset of epilepsy at 16 years or older with an overall estimation that two-thirds of patients with new-onset epilepsy obtain seizure freedom with the first antiseizure medication.