Quality-of-Life and Behavioral Outcome Measures in Randomized Controlled Trials of Antiepileptic Drugs: A Systematic Review of Methodology and Reporting Standards


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Gus A Baker, Department of Neurological Science, Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Lower Lane, Liverpool L9 7LJ, United Kingdom. E-mail: baker-g@wcnn-tr.nwest.nhs.uk


Summary: Purpose: To review the methodology and use of quality-of-life and behavioral measures used in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of antiepileptic drugs in patients with epilepsy.

Methods: Trial reports were found by searching a previously developed comprehensive database of epilepsy RCTs and searching through journals by hand. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, and methodological and quality-of-life and behavioral measure data were extracted.

Results: There were 52 different measures used in 46 trials, with the Profile of Mood States, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and the Washington Psychosocial Seizure Inventory being applied the most frequently. Overall, evidence of the reliability, validity, and sensitivity of measures used in populations of people with epilepsy was sparse. There was also little information on the clinical interpretation of the results.

Conclusion: Our results highlight a consistent failure to apply quality-of-life and behavioral measures in RCTs in a systematic way. We found repeated evidence of researchers' failure to review the use of previous measures and selection of measures without evidence of their appropriateness for use in a population with epilepsy. We recommend the use of quality-of-life and behavioral measures in RCTs with proven psychometric properties in a population with epilepsy.