Research Article

Early prognosis of epilepsy.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 285 doi: (Published 11 December 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;285:1699
  1. S D Shorvon,
  2. E H Reynolds


    In 94 previously untreated new referrals to a neurological clinic with tonic-clonic or partial seizures or both the failure rate for optimum single-drug treatment with phenytoin or carbamazepine after a median of 32 months was 17%. Failure of single-drug treatment was associated especially with the presence of additional neuropsychiatric handicaps but also with partial or mixed seizures, symptomatic epilepsy, and a higher number and frequency of tonic-clonic or partial seizures before treatment. Analysis of the recurrence of seizures suggested that the first year of treatment may be crucial in determining the long-term prognosis. These findings are in keeping with the concept that seizures may predispose to further seizures, and imply that early, effective treatment may be important to prevent evolution into chronic and more intractable epilepsy.