Prognosis favorable for most children with epilepsy

About 7 in 10 children who develop epilepsy experience terminal remission, while the condition becomes intractable in only about one in 10, according to a study published online June 14 in Epilepsia, reported HealthDay News.

About 7 in 10 children who develop epilepsy experience terminal remission, while the condition becomes intractable in only about one in 10, according to a study published online June 14 in Epilepsia, reported HealthDay News.

Ada Geerts, of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues followed a cohort of children from an earlier epilepsy study from initial onset in 1988 to 1992 for a mean of 14.8 years. A questionnaire was sent to 453 subjects to determine the course and outcome of their condition.

Among the 413 respondents, the researchers found that 70.9% had a terminal remission interval of at least 5 years by the end of follow-up. A favorable course was reported by 48.4% and an improving course by 29.1%. A poor course was reported by 9.9% of subjects, and 6.1% reported a deteriorating course. Eighteen of the subjects died. Eighty-six percent of the subjects used antiepileptic drugs during a mean 7.4 years-a third had their last seizure within a year of treatment, and another third continued treatment at the end of follow-up. Nine percent of the cohort was intractable at the researchers' last contact with them.

"In most children with newly diagnosed epilepsy, the long-term prognosis of epilepsy is favorable, and in particular, patients with idiopathic etiology will eventually reach remission. In contrast, epilepsy remains active in approximately 30% and becomes intractable in approximately 10%. Antiepileptic drugs probably do not influence epilepsy course; they merely suppress seizures," the authors wrote.