To determine the frequency and predictors of return to driving within 1 year after a diagnosis of epilepsy.
SEISMIC (the Sydney Epilepsy Incidence Study to Measure Illness Consequences) was a prospective, multicenter, community-wide study of people of all ages with newly diagnosed epilepsy in Sydney, Australia. Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics and driving status were obtained as soon as possible after baseline registration with a diagnosis of epilepsy. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine predictors of return to driving at 12-month follow-up.
Among 181 (76%) adult participants (≥18 years old) who reported driving before an epilepsy diagnosis, 152 provided information on driving at 12 months, of whom 118 (78%) had returned to driving. Driving for reasons of getting to work or place of education (odds ratio [OR] = 4.70, 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 1.87-11.86), no seizure recurrence (OR = 5.15, 95% CI = 2.07-12.82), and being on no or a single antiepileptic drug (OR = 4.54, 95% CI = 1.45-14.22) were associated with return to driving (C statistic = 0.79). More than half of participants with recurrent seizures were driving at follow-up.
Early return to driving after a diagnosis of epilepsy is related to work/social imperatives and control of seizures, but many people with recurrent seizures continue to drive. Further efforts are required to implement driving restriction policies and to provide transport options for people with epilepsy.