• anticonvulsants;
  • antiepileptic drugs;
  • epilepsy;
  • prescription register;
  • drug utilization

Objectives –  To describe utilization of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in Denmark during 1993–2002, with special emphasis on oxcarbazepine, and to assess probable indications for AED use.

Materials and methods –  We retrieved prescription data from Odense University Pharmacoepidemiological Database, in Funen County, Denmark (population in 2002: 472,869). Within each calendar year we estimated period prevalence, incidence rate and monotherapy rate. Based on co-medication we defined ‘epilepsy’ when only AEDs were prescribed, ‘pain’ with co-prescription of opioids, and ‘mood disorder’ with co-prescription of antipsychotics or antidepressants.

Results –  We identified 15,604 AED users. The prevalence of using AED increased from 9.3 (95% CI, 9–9.5) to 12.1 (11.8–12.4)/1000 persons. The incidence rate increased from 1.4 (1.3–1.6) to 1.7 (1.6–1.9)/1000 personyears. The monotherapy rate was 79–82%. AED use for ‘epilepsy’ declined by 19.7%, whereas the proportion of ‘pain’ and ‘mood disorder’ treatment increased by 11.2% and 8.4% respectively.

Conclusions –  Antiepileptic drug utilization increased during the study period, the increase probably caused by expanding use in areas other than epilepsy.