Research Article

Is there a place for placebo controlled trials of antiepileptic drugs?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 291 doi: (Published 09 November 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;291:1328
  1. S D Shorvon,
  2. M L Espir,
  3. T J Steiner,
  4. C I Dellaportas,
  5. F C Rose


    In many patients who develop epilepsy the disease is short lived and the overall number of seizures small. The role of anticonvulsant drugs in such patients is uncertain. If treatment is merely suppressive and the disease self limiting then treatment may not be necessary in some patients. If, on the other hand, early treatment prevents the subsequent evolution to chronic epilepsy then it is imperative. To resolve this issue it is essential to undertake placebo controlled trials, in which a group of patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy is given active treatment and compared with a similar group given placebo alone.