The epileptic multifactorial patient’s burden. Review of the topic


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Journal of Epileptology

Foundation of Epileptology

Subject: Medicine


eISSN: 2300-0147





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VOLUME 24 , ISSUE 2 (December 2016) > List of articles

The epileptic multifactorial patient’s burden. Review of the topic

José Pimentel *

Keywords : comorbidity, epilepsy, seizures, quality of life, social stigma

Citation Information : Journal of Epileptology. Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 167-172, DOI:

License : (CC BY 4.0)

Received Date : 08-August-2016 / Accepted: 23-September-2016 / Published Online: 30-September-2016



Background. Approximately 26% of the burden of neurologic diseases is due to epilepsy. Its negative impact reflects mainly on people with epilepsy (PWE) themselves.

Aims. To highlight the negative impacts of epilepsy on the lives of PEWs so as to identify a realistic approach to their individual needs.

Methods. For recently published papers PubMed and MEDLINE databases were used. In addition relevant references mentioned in the searched articles were also considered.

Review and discussion. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures and refractory epilepsy are the most important factors burdening PWE’s, resulting in increased injuries and mortality, including Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). The need of chronic intake of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and of epilepsy surgery are also important with regards to potential for side effects, drug interactions, and different surgery risks. PWE harbour more medical and psychiatric comorbidities than the general population and results in a decreased quality of life. Decreased self-esteem and major stigma are also frequent, linked to social, economic and personal negative consequences. Age also plays a role, younger people being more stigmatized given the interdiction to drive or difficulty in getting a job. In the elderly, seizures may have an impact on mental status, mood and sleep. Gender may also contribute, particularly involving women in childbearing age, linked to the fear or depression due to the possibility of AED-induced fertility disturbances, foetal malformations, or breast feeding sideeffects.

Conclusions. The burden that PWE face must be considered by all people involved in the management of their epilepsy. The causes may be multifactorial, all interconnected and each one influencing the others.

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