Epilepsy often goes untreated, even in wealthy countries

Among patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy, nearly 1 in 3 do not receive antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) initially, according to researchers in Australia.

They studied treatment patterns in patients referred to seizure specialty clinics in Western Australia. Of the 610 patients with a clear diagnosis of epilepsy, 189 (31%) did not start AED treatment at the time of diagnosis. This included 16.4% who were not offered treatment and 14.6% who declined treatment.

Common reasons neurologists gave for not offering treatment included a history of only 1 seizure (30%), pending results for additional tests (29%), or the presence of seizure-precipitating factors (22%).