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Antiepileptic drug utilization: a Danish prescription database analysis


Per Rochat, Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark


Objectives– The purpose of the study was to use prescription data from a Danish database to analyse and evaluate antiepileptic drug (AED) utilization, and compare with other prevalence studies. Methods– A Danish research database covering outpatient prescription data from a population of 471,873 persons was used. Prescription records on all patients prescribed AEDs during 1998 were retrieved. A cohort was extracted from the group of AED users. Results– We identified 5426 AED users. A total of 3756 of the 5426 AED users were included in our cohort. Of the subjects in the cohort 74% were on monotherapy, 19% used two AEDs and only 7% used three or more AEDs. The eight most frequent regimens were all monotherapy: carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, valproic acid, lamotrigine, clonazepam, phenytoin and primidon in that order. The estimated crude 1-year prevalence of AED use was 0.77% for women and 0.83% for men (P<0.001), and it increased with age for both genders. Conclusions– The prescription pattern reported here is in accordance with the general guidelines for the treatment of epilepsy in Denmark, except for a surprisingly extensive use of phenobarbital. With specific reservations the figures appear to be reasonable estimates of the prevalence of epilepsy.