Treatment outcomes in women with idiopathic generalized epilepsy


To evaluate the changes in prescription patterns in the treatment of idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) due to updated treatment recommendations and to assess seizure outcomes of valproate compared to other antiseizure medications (ASMs), with emphasis on women with epilepsy (WWE).

Materials and Methods

Records of IGE patients treated at Tampere University Hospital between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2018 were retrospectively inspected. Data were analysed for two subgroups based on age and sex. Seizure control with reference to the efficacy of different ASMs and their combinations was examined for each subgroup.


The study compiled 263 subjects (166 females and 97 males). Of all patients, 72.6% remained seizure free. There was no difference in seizure control between sexes (OR 1.25, p = .48). Males used valproate more often than females while females used lamotrigine and levetiracetam more often than males. Lamotrigine and levetiracetam were used especially as monotherapy in WWE, and mostly as part of combination therapy in males. Valproate alternatives were found as effective as valproate when used in monotherapy in adults. Valproate remained the most used ASM in the paediatric subgroup.


The use of valproate has decreased in daily clinical use with the simultaneous increased use of alternative ASMs compared to our previous study. Decreasing use of valproate in WWE did not increase the risk of seizure recurrence; therefore, valproate alternatives could be considered as first-line ASMs for WWE. Overall, IGE patients demonstrated good clinical outcomes with valproate or other broad-spectrum ASMs as monotherapy.

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