Research Article

One drug for epilepsy.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 25 February 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:474
  1. S D Shorvon,
  2. D Chadwick,
  3. A W Galbraith,
  4. E H Reynolds


    We performed prospective trials of phenytoin and carbamazepine, assisted by blood level monitoring, in untreated patients newly referred with grand mal or partial seizures, or both, to a neurological clinic. At the time of follow-up (mean 28.5 months for phenytoin; 12 months for carbamazepine) 76-88% of patients were completely controlled. Twelve per cent of the patients on each drug had further seizures, despite an optimum blood level. When the blood drug concentration was in the optimum range there was a 98% reduction in grand mal attack rate and 92-93% reduction in partial seizure rate. These results suggest that polypharmacy is largely, and possibly totally, unnecessary in newly diagnosed adult epileptics.