In most seniors, seizures are readily controlled by a single antiepileptic drug (AED), according to most retrospective series.76 However, compliance problems related to cognitive, sensory, and motor deficits and social isolation may interfere with successful treatment.77,78
Excess mortality over that expected for age appears to be related primarily to underlying illness such as cancer or vascular disease.79 The incidence of sudden death in epilepsy (SUDEP) may increase with aging.80
Maximizing quality of life and, when possible, normalizing lifestyle are explicit goals of treatment for people with epilepsy. The obstacles to independent function presented by aging make fulfilling these goals even more challenging, but still paramount. Medical and psychosocial correlates of epilepsy in the elderly deserve careful attention, often through a multidisciplinary team including primary care providers, medical specialists, mental health professionals, social workers, and family members.77,78
Adapted from: Bromfield EB. Epilepsy and the elderly. In: Schachter SC, Schomer DL, eds. The comprehensive evaluation and treatment of epilepsy. San Diego, CA: Academic Press; 1997. p. 233-254. With permission from Elsevier (www.elsevier.com).
Reviewed and revised June 2004 by Steven C. Schachter, MD, epilepsy.com Editorial Board.
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