Seizure outcome trajectories in a well‐defined cohort of newly diagnosed juvenile myoclonic epilepsy patients

Objective

To investigate the temporal course of medication response and associated prognostic factors in a cohort of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) patients over a long-term follow-up.

Materials and Methods

Data from 113 JME patients diagnosed according to recently proposed class II criteria were retrospectively reviewed. Early sustained remission was defined as 4-year seizure remission starting within 2 years from the first antiseizure medication (ASM) intake, as opposed to delayed sustained remission. Spontaneous relapse rate (ie, not related to ASM withdrawal) was also investigated, along with factors associated with seizure relapse.

Results

Four-year seizure remission was obtained by 76/113 (67.3%) subjects. Early sustained remission was achieved by 45/76 (59.2%) patients. Absence seizures were significantly associated with no-remission at multivariable multinomial logistic regression analysis. Catamenial seizures and earlier age at epilepsy onset significantly predicted delayed sustained remission. Spontaneous seizure relapse after 4-year remission occurred in 15.7% of patients with early sustained remission and in 35.5% of those with delayed sustained remission (p = 0.045). The most common concomitant factors for a spontaneous relapse were irregular lifestyle habits and pregnancy-related switch from valproate to another ASM. Patients with a history of catamenial seizures were more likely to experience a spontaneous generalized tonic-clonic seizure relapse after 4-year remission at univariable analysis.

Significance

Our data support the prognostic relevance of early medication response in JME patients. Furthermore, the prognostic significance of catamenial seizures and the impact of valproate switch on seizure relapse after a prolonged remission account for the challenging therapeutic management of women with childbearing potential.

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