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Keywords:

  • Localization-related;
  • Partial;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Clinical approach

Summary The diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of seizure disorders depend on the correct identification of epileptic syndromes. Partial epilepsies are heterogeneous and can be divided into idiopathic, cryptogenic, and symptomatic epilepsies. The most common of the idiopathic localization-related epilepsies is benign epilepsy with rolandic or centrotemporal spikes (BECTS). Seizures remain rare and the use of antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment in all patients does not appear justified. Children who present with some of the electroclinical characteristics of BECTS may also display severe unusual neurologic, neuropsychological, or atypical symptoms. In some cases, carbamazepine has been implicated as a triggering factor. Primary reading epilepsy and idiopathic occipital lobe epilepsies with photosensitivity are examples of an overlap between idiopathic localization-related and generalized epilepsies and respond well to sodium valproate. Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy and benign familial infantile convulsions are recently described syndromes, differing in several ways from classical idiopathic localization-related epileptic syndromes. In cryptogenic or symptomatic epilepsy, the topography of the epileptogenic zone might influence drug efficacy. An individualized approach to AED selection, tailored to each patient's needs, should be used. Resistance of seizures to antiepileptic therapy may be due to diagnostic and/or treatment error or may be the result of noncompliance. Increasing the dosage, discontinuation or replacement of a drug, or addition of a second drug is indicated in truly resistant cases. The use of more than two AEDs rarely optimizes seizure control, and in some cases reduction of treatment may improve seizure control while lessening side effects. EEG-video assessment of patients with refractory epilepsy is important. Indications for and timing of epilepsy surgery should be reconsidered. Surgical therapy should probably be used more often and earlier than it is at present.