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Keywords:

  • Epilepsy;
  • Cause;
  • Family history;
  • Febrile convulsions;
  • Mesial temporal sclerosis

Summary: Purpose: We investigated the response to antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy in patients with localisation-related epilepsy associated with different underlying causes.

Methods: Five hundred and fifty adolescent and adult patients who had partial epilepsy treated with AEDs and who had undergone magnetic resonance imaging of brain were followed up prospectively from 1984 at a single centre. More than 70% were newly diagnosed. None had had epilepsy surgery.

Results: Three hundred and twelve (57%) patients had been seizure free at their last clinic visit for at least a year. Patients with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS; n = 73, 42% seizure free) were less likely to be controlled (p < 0.01) than were those with arteriovenous malformation (AVM; n = 14, 78%), cerebral infarction (n = 46, 67%), primary tumour (n = 35, 63%), cortical gliosis (n = 81, 57%), cerebral atrophy (n = 49, 55%), and cortical dysplasia (CD; n = 63, 54%). Among the seizure-free patients, those with MTS were more likely to require more than one AED compared with those with other aetiologies (48 vs. 35%; p < 0.05). There was no difference in outcome between patients with symptomatic and cryptogenic epilepsy (n = 361, 58% vs. n = 189, 56% seizure free, respectively). Patients with MTS, CD, and cryptogenic epilepsy were more likely (p = 0.02) to have a family history of epilepsy than were the other groups. MTS patients also had a higher incidence of febrile convulsions (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The majority of patients with focal-onset epilepsy became seizure free on AED treatment. MTS-related seizures had the worst prognosis. Although many patients with this pathology may benefit from epilepsy surgery, a considerable number will be controlled with AED therapy.